Chinese grassroots activist goes on trial, a year after rallying support for censored weekly

One of the founders of an amorphous movement seeking to end China's one-party rule has gone on trial amid tight security in the southern city of Guangzhou, where he is charged with disrupting the public order.

Friday's trial against Liu Yuandong of the Southern Street Movement is part of a wider crackdown by Beijing on any form of grassroots social activism that may threaten the ruling Communist Party's grip on power.

His lawyer Liu Zhengqing said before the trial he planned to argue that the prosecution is political persecution for Liu's activism.

The charge of disrupting public order stems from Liu's involvement last January in public rallies for a censored weekly newspaper. He also is charged with a business technicality — falsely reporting capital in a business registration.