Xie Yang, a lawyer based in central China's Hunan Province, stood trial in the provincial capital of Changsha Monday.
Xie, 45, stands accused of "inciting subversion of state power and disrupting court order."
Over 40 people, including Xie's relatives, two defenders, legislators, political advisors, domestic and overseas journalists and members of the public, attended the hearing.
Xie told the court that his rights "had been fully protected" by the police and procuratorate, and stated that he had not been coerced into a confession nor had he been subjected to torture.
The prosecutors alleged that since 2012, Xie had openly attacked and defamed governmental agencies, the judiciary and China's legal system, and had incited others to subvert state power on multiple occasions. He also traveled overseas to receive training from overseas organizations, the prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, in July 2015 Xie was placed under "residential surveillance in a designated location" on the two counts of which he was suspected. He was formally arrested in January 2016.
The procuratorate reviewed relevant documents and returned the case to the police for further investigation twice due to "unclear facts and insufficient evidence."