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Chinese officials have formally charged Wei Jingsheng, the country's most prominent dissident, with attempting to overthrow the government, according to a report from the state-run Xinhua news agency. Wei, who served 15 years in prison for his involvement in the 1978 "democracy wall" movement, disappeared under police custody 20 months ago after continuing to speak out against the government. "It is not immediately clear whether Wei's trial is already underway," reports Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz, "but sources here think that the Xinhua report signals that the stage is set. By formally indicting Wei, Beijing must now go through the legal motions of a trial, even though it is not expected to be a public one. In Chinese courts, the odds are typically stacked against the defendants and Wei will most probably be found guilty."