A Chinese lawyer says prominent legal activist Yu Wensheng has been charged with inciting subversion of state power after writing a letter calling for democratic reforms.

Yu's lawyer, Huang Hanzhong, said Monday that police informed Yu's wife of the charge on Saturday.

Earlier this month, more than a dozen police officers grabbed Yu, a lawyer in Beijing, while he was waiting in his car to take his 13-year-old son to school.

Huang said police also took Yu's wife, Xu Yan, to a police station on Saturday on the same charge, though they released her the next day.

He said police also searched Yu's home and office and seized computers, USB drives, cellphones and various files documenting cases that Yu had handled in recent years.