BEIJING, NOV. 24 -- Authorities today formally charged a jailed editor and key player in last year's democracy movement with sedition and spreading counterrevolutionary propaganda, two of China's most serious crimes.

Word of the formal arrest and indictment of Wang Juntao, 32, was contained in a one-page notice sent to his wife by the Beijing Public Security Bureau, his wife, Hou Xiaotian, told United Press International.

The notice, dated today, said Wang, who has been in prison since October 1989, will be brought to trial on charges of intent to overthrow the Communist government and dissemination of counterrevolutionary propaganda.

Wang, an associate chief editor of the Economic Studies Weekly, was accused by Chinese authorities of being a "core organizer" of the democracy movement. Wang and his colleague Chen Ziming were thought to be active as behind-the-scenes strategists and key advisers to the protesting students.

The severity of the charges brought against Wang suggests that authorities consider him to be a hard-line agitator, since some other dissidents who played more public roles during last year's protests and were jailed have now been freed.

Wang has been held at Qincheng prison, China's top jail for political prisoners, since his arrest last year. He was caught near Guangzhou while following a secret escape route to Hong Kong, according to Asia Watch, a human rights group.