China puts anti-corruption protester on trial: Lawyer

China puts anti-corruption protester on trial: Lawyer

BEIJING - A Chinese anti-corruption protester stood trial on Wednesday in Beijing, his lawyer said, as authorities press a crackdown on a rights movement that has campaigned for greater government transparency.

Zhang Xiangzhong, an activist associated with the New Citizens Movement, whose members held small-scale protests calling for government officials to disclose their assets as a curb against graft, stood trial on a charge of "credit card fraud", his attorney Xie Yanyi told AFP.

Beijing does not tolerate organised dissent and has cracked down on members of the loose-knit group, detaining dozens and sentencing several to prison. "He has been targeted because of his involvement in the protests over asset disclosure," Mr Xie said, arguing that the evidence was insufficient and Zhang had pleaded not guilty.

Mr Xie said that police surrounding the court, in the city's northwestern Haidian district, denied access to those hoping to attend. "It's effectively a secret trial... and in the view of the lawyers, it's totally illegal," he said.

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