China puts more corruption activists on trial

Martin Patience outside the court house in Beijing: "Human rights groups say the verdict is a foregone conclusion"

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Two more anti-corruption activists have gone on trial in China on charges of disturbing public order.

The two activists - Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei - are part of the New Citizens' Movement, which has campaigned for officials to disclose their assets.

It was founded by Xu Zhiyong, who was jailed for four years in January.

Other individuals linked to the group have also been prosecuted, despite a highly-publicised crackdown on corruption by President Xi Jinping.

Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei were due to go on trial in January but dismissed their lawyers, delaying proceedings.

New Citizens' Movement

  • A loose network of activists in China
  • Campaigns for more civil and political rights in China, and educational rights for children
  • Has urged officials to declare their assets to help combat corruption
  • Members have organised mealtime gatherings to discuss social and legal issues

They have been charged with "gathering a crowd to disturb public order".

The court house, in Beijing's Haidian district, was cordoned off by a large police presence, reports the BBC's Martin Patience.

Journalists were not being allowed to report and supporters of the activists were being detained, our correspondent said.

Mr Li's lawyer, Jiang Yuanmin, said his client had committed no crime.

"People like Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei, they just want government officials to report their assets," he said.

"This goes against the interests of a vast majority of officials. So the government is afraid."

Rights groups have criticised Xi Jinping - who pledged to fight corruption at all levels of society - over the trials of the activists.

They are being seen as a sign that the leadership remains unwilling to tolerate any kind of organised opposition.

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