About two dozen plainclothes police are stationed outside a courthouse in northern China as the trial of a prominent human rights lawyer was expected to unfold.

Reporters, foreign diplomats and supporters were prevented from approaching the building in Tianjin city on Wednesday morning where lawyer Wang Quanzhang was to be tried.

Wang is among more than 200 lawyers and legal activists who were detained in a sweeping 2015 crackdown. The advocate for the banned Falun Gong meditation sect was charged with subversion of state power in 2016. He has been held without access to his lawyers or family for more than three years.

Wang’s wife Li Wenzu told the AP on Tuesday that state security agents in Beijing were preventing her from going to Tianjin for her husband’s trial.

Plainclothes security officers take away a supporter of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang near the Secondary Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Wednesday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Plainclothes security officers take away a supporter of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang near the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Wednesday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Plainclothes security officers take away a supporter of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang near the Secondary Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Wednesday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Plainclothes security officers take away a supporter of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang near the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Wednesday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Plainclothes security officers stand in the street opposite the Secondary Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin northeastern China's Tianjin municipality, Wednesday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Plainclothes security officers stand in the street opposite the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin northeastern China’s Tianjin municipality, Wednesday, Dec. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a spiritual discipline based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, and has five gentle exercises, including a sitting meditation. The practice was first introduced to the public in 1992 and became immensely popular within a short span of time, and almost 70-100 million people were practising its meditative exercises by 1999 in China alone.

The growth of this peaceful spiritual movement alarmed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and fearing for its so called ideological supremacy based on atheism, the communist regime announced an illegal ban on Falun Gong in 1999 and began the cruel supression. (More detail)

Source: The Associated Press

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