Chinese authorities have indicted veteran dissident Zhu Yufu on subversion charges for writing a poem urging people to gather to defend their freedoms, his lawyer said on Tuesday, the latest activist faced with such charges in a tightening clampdown.

The Foreign Ministry, however, stoutly defended China’s human rights record, rejecting an assessment by U.S. ambassador Gary Locke that the human rights situation was deteriorating.

“Such statements are not true,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a regular briefing. “The Chinese side attaches great importance to promoting and protecting the fundamental rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including the freedom of expression and of religion.”

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