China releases democracy activist after nine years

Other News Materials 6 November 2008 14:55 (UTC +04:00)

China on Thursday released a well-known dissident after he served more than nine years of a 13-year prison sentence, a Hong Kong-based rights group said.

Veteran activist Liu Xianbin was released from the Chandong prison in the south-western province of Sichuan, the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said, reported dpa.

Liu, 40, had returned to his family in Sichuan's Suining city following his early release for good behaviour, the group said.

He was granted a sentence reduction of two years and eight months after working as a teacher at the prison, it said.

Liu was reportedly given an earlier one-year sentence reduction on in May 2004.

His sentence was linked to his activities as a leading member of the banned China Democracy Party.

Liu had previously spent two and a half years in prison from 1991 to 1993 for "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement," after he founded an unauthorized political journal while studying at People's University in Beijing, the US-based Duihua Foundation said earlier.

He had also taken part in the 1989 democracy protests that the ruling Communist Party ended with a military crackdown in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Chinese courts jailed at least 25 others with ties to the China Democracy Party, though many are thought to have been released.

The Information Centre urged the Chinese government to release those still imprisoned, including veteran activists Qin Yongmin and He Depu.

It said Chinese jails still hold an estimated 2,200 political prisoners.