China violates human rights of Liu Xiaobo: HRW



China violates human rights of Liu Xiaobo: HRW Washington: A US-based human rights body has charged the Chinese Government with violating the rights of Liu Xiaobo – country's most prominent dissident – by mounting a pre-determined political trial on him.

"The only purpose of this trial is to dress up naked political repression in the trappings of legal proceedings," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

"Liu's crimes are non-existent, yet his fate has been pre-determined. This is a travesty of justice," Richardson said.

Liu, a leading intellectual who spent nearly two years in prison after the Tiananmen crackdown, has been indicted for "incitement to subvert state power," a charge frequently used against dissidents because it allows the criminalisation of criticisms of the government and the party.

Liu's trial is due to open in Beijing tomorrow morning.

Liu has been indicted for "incitement to subvert state power" for his contribution to the drafting of "Charter '08," a political manifesto calling for human rights and the rule of law in China, as well as several articles he had published in previous years.

He was arrested on December 8 last year and detained for over a year before being indicted.

Liu faces up to 15 years in prison, the maximum under a single charge of "fixed-term imprisonment" under Chinese law.

Although Liu was promised an open trial, his wife Liu Xia was told by court officials this week that she would not be allowed to attend the trial.

Several original co-signatories of Charter ‘08 who had earlier expressed their solidarity with Liu Xiaobo, as well as other supporters, have been warned by security agents that they should not attempt to attend the trial and placed under police surveillance.

"Liu Xiaobo's case has been marked by grave rights violations from the outset," said Richardson. "His arrest was political, the charges are political, and his trial is political."

PTI