China activist who called Xi clueless on coronavirus faces years in jail for ‘subversion’

Xu Zhiyong is being held in secret detention and has been denied access to a lawyer, say friends

A prominent Chinese activist detained for criticising President Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak is being held on a state security charge that carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail, his friends said on Sunday.

Xu Zhiyong, a former law lecturer and founder of the social campaign New Citizens Movement, was taken away by police on 15 February during a fresh crackdown on freedom of speech precipitated by the coronavirus crisis.

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