A Chinese student active in the 1989 democracy movement went on trial Wednesday accused of counterrevolutionary sabotage for resisting troops sent to crush the mass demonstrations. Four student leaders were sentenced to prison terms last Saturday, the first prominent activists to be tried since the June 1989 crackdown.
An official notice posted outside the Beijing People's Intermediate Court announced the time of Guo Haifeng's trial and the charges, but gave no further details. Reporters were barred from entering.
Mr. Guo's trial was another sign that Chinese authorities plan to wrap up cases of all pro-democracy activists soon. Some have been awaiting trial in prison for 19 months.
According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, Guo was arrested by martial law troops in front of Communist Party headquarters in Zhongnanhai, once home of China's emperors and now an exclusive compound where senior Communist Party leaders live, and accused of trying to set fire to an armored vehicle there.
Guo was for a time a leading member of the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation and took part in talks with government spokesman Yuan Mu.
He was reportedly badly beaten after his arrest, Amnesty said.
The party newspaper People's Daily accused Guo after the crackdown of being one of five ringleaders of the illegal student federation.
Charges of counterrevolutionary sabotage carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail for serious cases and at least three years ``when circumstances are relatively minor,'' according to China's criminal law.
Three other people - Yao Junling, Chen Tao, and Li Chenghuan - were also listed yesterday as facing trial on the same charges. It was not immediately clear if they were also students.