China releases political activist after 16 years News
China releases political activist after 16 years

[JURIST] Chinese authorities have released activist Hu Shigen [profile] after 16 years of imprisonment, the group Human Rights in China (HRIC) [advocacy website] announced Tuesday. Hu had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for carrying out counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement and organizing a counterrevolutionary group. HRIC Executive Director Sharon Hom said in a press release [text]:

We welcome the release of Hu Shigen, but it is tragic that Hu had to suffer so many years of abuse, serious health problems, and harsh conditions. He should have been released immediately in November 2005, when the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that his detention was arbitrary.

Hu must reportedly abide by a five-year deprivation of political rights, including those of free speech, assembly and association. AP has more.

A former lecturer at Beijing Language Institute [academic website], Hu helped to found the China Freedom and Democracy Party [party website] and planned events commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre [BBC backgrounder]. A human rights group reported last year that political arrests in China were on the rise [JURIST report], having doubled from 2005 to 2006. Last month, Amnesty International criticized human rights abuses in China [JURIST report], including the detention and abuse of activists.