London, Dec.13 (ANI): One of China's leading dissidents has been charged with "inciting subversion", and faces a possible 15-year jail sentence.
Liu Xiaobo was one of 300 democratic activists in China to author a bold call for constitutional reform last December, reports The Guardian and The Observer.
The manifesto was published under the name Charter 08, and called for greater freedom of expression, multi-party elections and independent courts.
Liu was seen as a figurehead for the movement, and therefore, detained shortly before the document was published online. He was formally arrested in June on suspicion of incitement to subvert the state power.
Officials have told Liu's lawyer that they would charge him. Experts say he will almost certainly be convicted and sent to jail, probably within weeks.
Professor Perry Link, of Princeton University, New Jersey, who translated Charter 08 into English, said: "He must have known that he was running a risk of becoming the regime's target."
Liu's detention had already prompted an international outcry. Nobel laureates including Vaclav Havel, Wole Soyinka and Nadine Gordimer have called for his release. US officials are believed to have raised his name during President Barack Obama's visit to Beijing last month. But the Chinese authorities seem unruffled.
Liu, 53, has long been a thorn in the side of the authorities. In 1989 he was jailed for his role in the pro-reform protests in Tiananmen Square. In the 1990s he was sent to a re-education camp. But after release he repeatedly turned down opportunities to go abroad.
Instead he continued to write "interesting, engaging and relevant essays", said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, commanding respect from the younger generation as well as his peers. (ANI)