One of China's most prominent human rights lawyers is due to stand trial Monday for comments on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. International rights groups say his case is political persecution.

Pu Zhiqiang has been detained for 19 months. He has been indicted on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and picking quarrels to stir up trouble.

The charges relate to a number of posts on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo that questioned the party's policies toward the Tibetan and Uighur (WEE-gur) ethnic minorities in the Tibet and Xinjiang regions, and mocked political figures.

Rights groups have said he faces up to eight years in prison.