A Chinese court Monday opened the sedition trial of a leading democracy activist who went on a hunger strike in a failed bid to delay the proceedings.

More than a dozen police around the Beijing courthouse blocked foreign journalists from reading a small announcement of Chen Ziming's trial on charges of trying to overthrow the Communist government. However, Chinese were allowed to read the notice.Chen, 38, the director of a private research institute, gave advice behind the scenes to college students whose calls for reform grew into the 1989 nationwide democracy movement that was ultimately crushed by the army. Hundreds of people were killed in the crackdown, which stirred an international outcry.