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US blasts trial of Chinese dissident

WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is sharply criticizing China's trial of a prominent Chinese dissident as being "uncharacteristic of a great country."

Liu Xiaobo was detained a year ago before the release of an appeal for more civil rights in China that he co-authored. He was tried Wednesday on subversion charges and faces up to 15 years in jail. The verdict is due Friday.

"As far as we can tell, this man's crime was simply signing a piece of paper that aspires to a more open and participatory form of government. That is not a crime," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "These kind of actions — clearly a political trial that will likely lead to a political conviction — are uncharacteristic of a great country."

Liu is a literary critic and former professor. He spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests at Tiananmen Square.

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