Wang Quanzhang went missing during suppression on hundreds of lawyers and activists in 2015. Wang is the last one to be adjudicated or released.
Wang used to protect political campaigners as well as followers of the prohibited spiritual movement Falun Gong. He even worked with a Swedish human rights activist. Security outside the court has been tightened; with several supporters of Wang were pulled away by police.
Mr Wang’s wife Li Wenzu, who has not seen him since he disappeared in 2015, stated her home in Beijing has been encircled by police and restrained her from being present at the trial.
Journalists and foreign diplomats have also been prohibited from entering the courthouse in the northern city of Tianjin. Some activists gathered outside the court and were either shouting slogans or holding up signs to show their support for Mr Wang.
Mr Wang is charged of undermining state power. Court documents state that he worked with Swedish activist Peter Dahlin and others in order to prepare hostile forces. Mr Dahlin, who served a legal aid organization, was confined for three weeks in China during January, before being expatriated.
On Wednesday, Mr Dahlin stated that he had kept all data linked to Mr Wang’s work with his organization, and would produce them whenever necessary in order to ally that it creates corrupt state power.
Amnesty International researcher Doriane Lau stated that the planning of the trial, on 26 December, seems to be a conscious decision by the Chinese authorities. It’s because most part of the world will be having a holiday and won’t able to react.
China’s suppression on lawyers, labeled as the “709” suppression because it began on 9 July, is being anticipated by activists as a sign of an increasing intolerance of dissension under President Xi Jinping.
Over 200 were confined, with many being given jail terms, suspended sentences or kept on house arrest.