It has been a year and two days since China's top dissident Liu Xiaobo was taken away by police. But exactly a year later on Tuesday he was formally charged with inciting subversion, probably related to his co-authoring Charter 08, a manifesto urging political reform.
"The public security organs feel the procuratorate should charge him and have recommended that they do so," said Shang Baojun, Liu's lawyer on Wednesday. He said the recommended charge was "inciting subversion of state power", a charge usually brought against those who voice opposition to the government.
Liu is a writer and former university professor at Beijing Normal University who was jailed for being involved in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and even sent to a labour camp.
But that did not deter him from voicing his strong dissatisfaction with the government.
Charter 08 is an online petition that has been signed by over 10,000 people, including intellectuals, writers and dissidents. It calls for a multi-party system that includes the Communist Party as well as human rights protection.
Despite governments, rights groups, and well known figures such as Lech Walesa, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie calling for Liu's release, he still remains hidden in an undisclosed location. His wife Liu Xia has only been able to see him once, in March.
Now that formal charges have been filed to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate, Liu's case will now finally move forward, his lawyer says. "This is an important step in the process," he said.
What is most crucial now is that the procuratorate or prosecutor must follow everything to the law. Not that the authorities have been doing everything correctly. For example, does it really take 365 days of illegal detention to figure out if someone like Liu is worth charging?
With the state meddling in law cases, they are especially interested in this one. When one is charged with inciting subversion of state power, it's very hard to prove innocence, particularly with Liu's previous activist record.
Nevertheless, it is important for people like him to challenge the system, to gain public awareness for his cause and hopefully inspire others to be brave and fight for what is rightfully belongs to them.
They can only try.