China frees veteran labour activist after 10 years
May 6, 2011, 5:34 GMT
Beijing - China has freed a veteran labour rights activist after he served 10 years in prison for 'inciting subversion of state power,' a fellow activist said on Friday.
The activist said he had met Li Wangyang, 60, since Li was released from a prison in the central province of Hunan on Thursday.
'His health is very bad. He can hardly see and hear,' the activist, who is a close friend of Li, told the German Press Agency dpa by telephone.
'He was already in bad condition before he went into prison,' he said.
Li spent 21 of the last 22 years in prison, including an earlier 11-year sentence for organizing an independent trade union during China's 1989 democracy movement.
He was staying with family in Hunan's Shaoyang city but remained subject to an additional four-year deprivation of political rights, meaning he was banned from accepting interviews or taking part in political activities, relatives told US-based Human Rights in China.
Police had threatened several other activists in Hunan or placed them under house arrest to stop them from meeting Li after his release, the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Defenders reported.
Li's friend declined to discuss the police action in Hunan, saying he was concerned for his own safety and believed that his mobile telephone was monitored.
Following his release in 2000 after his first sentence, Li campaigned for compensation to pay his medical expenses for treatment for health problems including heart disease, vision and hearing loss that he developed during his imprisonment.
He was arrested again in 2001 after saying he planned a hunger strike and would seek international publicity for his compensation campaign, Human Rights in China said.
Meanwhile, police in the eastern province of Shandong have charged a young labour activist with 'incitement to subvert state power' after he investigated the suspicious death of a village leader, US-based Radio Free Asia reported on Friday.
Xue Mingkai, 22, was among many activists who tried to investigate the death in December of Qian Yunhui, a land-rights campaigner in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
A court convicted a truck driver of killing Qian and the government insisted that the popular village leader died in a traffic accident.
But other villagers have claimed that Qian was pushed under the truck by unidentified men.
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