28 October 2013
The trial has begun in China of three activists who were campaigning for government officials to reveal how wealthy they are. The case is being watched closely as a sign President Xi Jinping's administration appears to be more rigorous than his predecessor against political activists.
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Lines of police blocked roads in the grimy eastern city of Xinyu as the three activists were brought to court. Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua were unknown outside their hometown before now.
But their trial is being seen as highly significant. Their crime: to gather a dozen, mostly elderly, people in the courtyard of their apartment block last April, and unfurl a banner, calling on President Xi Jinping to make Chinese officials publicly disclose their wealth. They're charged with illegal assembly.
Since he took over the leadership of the Communist Party a year ago, President Xi's government has launched its own anti-corruption drive. But Mr Xi has also overseen the broadest crackdown China has seen in recent years. Dozens of campaigners and lawyers have been detained, many linked to a loose group called the New Citizens' Movement that's been calling for greater civil and political rights for ordinary Chinese.
President Xi appears to be taking a tougher line even than his predecessors on any who publicly challenge the authority of the Communist Party.
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unroll, spread out
- illegal assembly
the organisation of a meeting without official permission
- taking a tougher line