World

Chinese rights lawyer detained for 19 months due to stand trial Monday for social media posts

  • Supporters of rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and foreign journalists stand after being pushed away by police near the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Pu went on trial Monday on charges of provoking trouble with commentaries on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Supporters of rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and foreign journalists stand after being pushed away by police near the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Pu went on trial Monday on charges of provoking trouble with commentaries on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police officers scuffle with a supporter of rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang near the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court where Pu stood trial, in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Pu went on trial Monday on charges of provoking trouble with commentaries on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Police officers scuffle with a supporter of rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang near the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court where Pu stood trial, in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Pu went on trial Monday on charges of provoking trouble with commentaries on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)  (The Associated Press)

  • A foreign journalist covering rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang's trial reacts after being pushed away by police offiers near the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Pu went on trial Monday on charges of provoking trouble with commentaries on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    A foreign journalist covering rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang's trial reacts after being pushed away by police offiers near the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. Pu went on trial Monday on charges of provoking trouble with commentaries on social media that were critical of the ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)  (The Associated Press)

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.