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Trial of Chinese Dissident Liu to Begin Wednesday

Liu Xiaob

Liu Xiaob

Former university professor in custody for co-authoring pro-democracy petition

The lawyer for a well-known Chinese dissident said his client will be put on trial Wednesday in Beijing on charges of inciting subversion of state power.

Liu Xiaobo, a former university professor, has been in Chinese custody for more than a year for co-authoring a pro-democracy petition known as "Charter 08."

His lawyer, Shang Baojun, said authorities told him Liu will be tried Wednesday, and he faces the possibility of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Last week, the United States and European Union publicly urged Beijing to release Liu. A U.S. State Department spokesman (P.J. Crowley) said China should respect the rights of all of its citizens to peacefully express their desire for what he called fundamental freedoms.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said such calls by the United States and Europe are unacceptable and amount to interference in China's judicial process.

In 1989, Liu spent 20 months in jail for joining the student-led protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.