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New Citizens Movement leader faces 'secret trial' in Beijing

New Citizens Movement insignia, courtesy of WikipediaZhang Xiangzhong, an anti-corruption activist with the New Citizens Movement, went on trial Wednesday in Beijing on a charge of credit card fraud, his attorney Xie Yanyi told the press.

The trial followed New Citizens' small-scale protests across the country, calling for government officials to disclose their assets as a curb against graft. 

"He has been targeted because of his involvement in the protests over asset disclosure," Xie said, as reported by the news service, The Express Tribune.

Xie said police had surrounded the court in Beijing's northwestern Haidian district, denying 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.

A European diplomat told the news service that representatives from ten foreign countries had attempted to observe the trial but were denied access.

New Citizens Movement members argued that asset disclosure would help curb rampant corruption in China.

In April, Beijing's high court upheld a four-year jail sentence against Xu Zhiyong, a founder of the movement.

The verdict was condemned by international rights groups, as well as the United States and European Union.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.