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Chinese Activist Faces Trial for Calling on Officials to Disclose Assets

  • VOA News

Liu Ping holds an umbrella with slogans of the New Citizens’ Movement.

Liu Ping holds an umbrella with slogans of the New Citizens’ Movement.

A Shanghai-based legal scholar says a prominent Chinese activist will go on trial in the coming days after being arrested in April for involvement in a new civil rights movement.

A statement published by scholar Zhang Xuezhong says pretrial hearings in the case against 49-year-old Liu Ping will be held in the eastern province of Jiangxi from Friday to Monday.

Police arrested the woman and several other activists in the city of Xinyu in April for participating in a campaign called the New Citizens Movement to pressure Communist officials to disclose their assets as part of the fight against corruption.

Liu will stand trial on three charges of illegal assembly, disrupting public order and associating with a cult to harm law enforcement. She initially faced a more serious charge of subversion that was dropped.

Chinese rights activist Hu Jia told VOA's Mandarin service that Liu's trial is part of a Communist Party crackdown on the New Citizens Movement ahead of the ruling party's key annual meeting next month.

"They are using her as their first target. Besides being a way to test public opinion, [the trial] also helps to create fear about [China's] stability before the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress," Hu said. "So I think Liu Ping and Li Sihua [one of the activists arrested with Liu] are bearing the consequences of [the Communist Party's] first wave of suppression efforts this year. This situation needs attention from China and international society," he said.

Officials have not commented on the case against Liu.

Liu is a former factory worker who gained prominence by applying to run as an independent candidate in local elections for the National People's Congress in 2011. Her bid failed.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption one of his top priorities, warning that it could threaten the Communist Party's survival.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.
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