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China Charges Well-Known Internet Activist with Subversion

Ran Yunfei (file photo)

Ran Yunfei (file photo)

China has charged well-known pro-democracy writer and editor Ran Yunfei with subversion for his alleged role in calling for popular uprisings in China similar to those gripping the Middle East and North Africa.

Ran's wife told VOA's Mandarin service she received a copy of the formal charging documents Monday, and says they were dated last Friday. She said she will move quickly to hire a lawyer to defend her spouse, and expects formal court proceedings within two months.

Analysts say the formal charges allow police to continue their detention of the activist, while moving him closer to a criminal trial.

Ran, a 46-year-old writer, magazine editor and blogger from southwestern Sichuan province, has been an online presence in China for more than a decade. He was arrested five weeks ago in Chengdu, as police in Beijing and Shanghai moved to squelch protests called for by unidentified activists in Internet postings.

Before his arrest, Ran was known for his frequent criticism of government policy and for his calls for tolerance for dissenting views.

In recent months, as domestic websites in China refused to carry his writings, he moved his blogs and other social networking outside China, circumventing government efforts to block his material.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.