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Chinese Tiananmen Square protester released from jail

[JURIST] China has released a prisoner initially sentenced to death for burning debris during the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests [BBC backgrounder], the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy [advocacy website] reported Friday. Former construction worker Xi Haoliang, who the center said was released Tuesday, was among an estimated 12 individuals still in detention for their alleged involvement in the protest, which spanned nearly two months and involved thousands of students and laborers.

The protests, which began in April of 1989 with mainly students and laborers protesting the Communist Party of China, prompted the Chinese government to declare martial law in May, culminating in the violent dispersal of protesters by the People's Liberation Army on June 4. Precise estimates of the number of casualties are unavailable as the Chinese government has never publicized official figures. AP has more.

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