Liu Jinhsheng Released


China frees jailed dissident early

Leading Chinese dissident Liu Jingsheng has been released from prison after more than a decade behind bars, and says he will continue to be concerned about the many problems facing his people.

"I am an ordinary citizen, I don't have a lot of ambition, but I still care very much about the situation of Chinese people," Mr Liu said.

"I am still the same person, I haven't changed the way I think."

However, Mr Lui has stopped short of saying whether he would continue to participate in pro-democracy activities.

Mr Liu says his political rights would be curtailed for four years after his release and there are limits on his freedom of speech and publication.

"It is not convenient to talk about lots of things now," he said.

Mr Liu, who has been released more than two years before his sentence runs out, has been suffering from high blood pressure, heart and stomach problems.

"I am well," he said. "I am in good spirits and my health is okay."

Mr Liu, who was detained in May 1992 and sentenced two years later on charges of "organising and leading a counter-revolutionary organisation" and "inciting counter-revolutionary subversion," was due for release in May 2007.

He is one of China's most prominent dissidents.

He participated in the 1978 Democracy Wall movement and published the underground magazine Exploration.

Following the crushing of the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement in 1989, Mr Liu and other dissidents established the China Freedom and Democracy Party.

Mr Liu also took part in an independent labour union movement.

China prohibits trade unions that are not attached to the state.

New York-based Human Rights in China, which this week announced the news of Mr Liu's early release, is urging the Government to show similar tolerance to other dissidents behind bars.