The controversial trial of Aids activist Tian Xi was suspended this week, but the 23-year-old is still locked up in jail. Tian's lawyer, Liang Xiaojun , said he received a notice from the Xincai County People's Court, Henan province on Tuesday, saying that the trial of Tian was suspended due to 'irresistible reasons', which bears a similar meaning to the Western legal concept of force majeure or an act of God. 'What does 'trial suspension' mean?' Liang asked. 'It means that a court can stop a trial without giving a reason. And this period of suspension is not even counted towards the time restrictions that a court has to obey when running a trial.' 'It means the court can resume a trial whenever, and meanwhile Tian can only wait in limbo for a judgment that may never come.' The law is not clear on whether a defendant in a suspended trial should be released. Liang hopes he can apply for Tian to be released on bail as early as possible, but even then Liang's freedom would still be subject to bail conditions. The clause that provides the basis for 'trial suspension' is No 181 of the Supreme People's Court's judicial interpretation of the Criminal Procedure Law, a clause which Liang said was unjust since it provides the court with immense discretion, but little remedy for a defendant. 'This is a perfect excuse for courts to avoid addressing the problems of delayed trials and overtime detention,' Liang said. Tian contracted HIV and hepatitis B and C when he was nine, upon receiving a blood transfusion at the No1 Xincai Hospital, which denied responsibility. Since then he has struggled with incessant flu, loss of concentration, discrimination and in recent years a clampdown by local authorities, as he pursued a road of rights advocacy for himself and other HIV/Aids patients. He still managed to do a university degree course in Beijing and graduated last year. Tian was charged with 'intentionally damaging property' in August, after he swept items off the desk of a doctor at No1 Xincai Hospital in a rage. He was arrested by police dressed in full bio-hazard gear when Tian's parents were not home. Rights lawyer Li Fangping said clause No 181 was simply wrongly applied in Tian's case, since 'irresistible reasons' should refer only to situations like natural disasters. 'Overtime detention is common in China, but it's rare for the court to give a reason like in this case,' Li said. 'Normally the court just doesn't address it. And it's very difficult for defendants to sue.' Tian is a thorn in the side of Xincai county, but he's had the ear of the Ministry of Health letters and complaints office, which issued a circular in April hailing his perseverance: 'A self-respecting patient like him should deserve respect ... right now, when he's most in need of assistance, who can give him a hand?'