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China 28 November 2007

Cyber-dissident Zhao Changqing freed on completing five-year sentence

Reporters Without Borders welcomes pro-democracy cyber-dissident Zhao Changqing’s release yesterday on completing a five-year sentence for “inciting subversion.” Arrested on 4 November 2002 in the northern province of Shaanxi, he served his sentence in Weinan prison.

“We pay tribute to the determination he displayed as soon as he left prison, after five years and 21 days in detention,” the press freedom organisation said. Zhao told Radio Free Asia on his release that he would continue to defend his democratic ideals.

Zhao was jailed for being one of the 200 signatories of an open letter to the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China calling for political reforms, democratic elections and the rehabilitation of the 1989 pro-democracy movement. As well as the five-year prison sentence, he was stripped of his political rights for three years. He was previously convicted and imprisoned in 1989 and 1998.

The number of cyber-dissidents imprisoned in China currently stands at 49.

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