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China 7 December 2004

Cyberdissident Ouyang Yi released at the end of his sentence

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the release at the end of his sentence on 4 December of cyberdissident Ouyang Yi, who had been in prison for two years after setting up a pro-democracy website.

But the worldwide press freedom organisation protested that he was now serving a "second sentence", since he is banned from publishing for two years and will be under close police supervision.

"Ouyang Yi has been released from prison but he no longer has the right to work at his job as a teacher nor to live from his writing," it said. "His case illustrates the methods the government uses to silence ’subversive’ intellectuals", it added.

Ouyang has no means of supporting himself by his writing for the next two years and will have to inform police every time he goes out.

He was arrested on 4 December 2002, for the fifth time in six years. An intermediate people’s court in Chengdu in the south-west sentenced him on 16 March 2004 to two years in prison for "incitement to subversion".

He was one of the 192 signatories of an open letter to the 16th Chinese Communist Party Congress, which made six political demands including rehabilitation of the 1989 pro-democracy movement.

Among the other demands were a right of return for Chinese political exiles, release of prisoners of conscience, ratification by the people’s national congress of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the holding of democratic elections.

The other cyberdissidents who signed the same letter - He Depu, Zhao Changqing, Sang Jiancheng, Dai Xuezhong, Han Lifa, Jiang Lijun - are all still in prison.

At total of 61 people remain behind bars in China for having posted messages critical of the government on the Internet.

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