Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trial of Chinese Student Dissident Expected to be Closed, Controlled

BEIJING -- The trial of prominent Chinese dissident and former student leader Wang Dan for the capital charge of plotting to overthrow the government is expected to be held behind closed doors soon, a family member said on Tuesday.

The Beijing Number One Intermediate People's Court had yet to inform Wang's family of the trial date, the relative said.

The court was widely expected to fill the limited number of courtroom seats with carefully selected people in order to keep away foreign reporters and fellow dissidents.

"In reality, the trial will not be open ... but the court will not admit it is not an open trial," the relative said. "It tells a group of people to attend and calls this an open trial."

A court official, contacted by telephone, declined to comment.

Court officials have confirmed that Wang, detained since May 1995, has been charged with plotting to overthrow the government -- a crime that carries a maximum penalty of death and a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Wang, 26, had previously served four years in prison for his role in the pro-democracy demonstrations that were crushed by the army in June, 1989.

Wang's mother, Wang Lingyun, a 61-year-old museum researcher who has no background in law, has said she would defend her son in court.

The dissident was ready for a harsh sentence, Wang's mother told a Hong Kong-based group that monitors human rights in China.

"Wang Dan said he has not done anything wrong ... He is very calm ... and psychologically prepared for a heavy sentence," the group quoted the mother as saying.