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China Disputes Charge US Resident is Mistreated in Chinese Prison

China says a U.S. resident in jail on spying and other charges is being treated well. An official's statement Thursday was in response to allegations by 40 U.S. Senators that the man, Chinese-born Yang Jianli, has been tortured in prison.

China's Foreign Ministry says Mr. Yang, a veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, is in good health and leads an active life in Beijing's Tianhe prison.

Forty U.S. Senators disagree. The lawmakers sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging him to free Mr. Yang. The Senators say the man was held in solitary confinement for a year, beaten by prison guards and shocked with electric wands. They said his release would help to improve relations with the United States.

At a regular briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said China has taken note of the U.S. Senators' request. "China takes U.S. concerns seriously. We have talked about this issue [in the past] with the U.S. side, including U.S. Senators. We have frequent communications and I believe it is good to enhance understanding between both sides. However, regarding this issue, China will keep addressing it according to China's laws," he said.

Yang Jianli had been living in the United States after he was forced into exile over his participation in the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

He returned to China in 2002 to do research on labor unrest in China's Northeast, but was arrested shortly after his arrival for using a friend's passport and a fake identity card to enter the country. He was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of espionage and entering China illegally.