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China Expels Dissident Fang Jue - 2003-01-25

China expels prominent democracy activist Fang Jue and sends him to the United States. As Niva Whyman reports from Beijing, Mr. Fang is a former Chinese government official who was jailed after calling for free elections.

Fang Jue boarded a place for Chicago on Friday with a diplomat from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He was not allowed to see family members before departing. Mr. Fang, who worked as a government economist before going into business for himself, gained notoriety in 1998 by calling for free elections, freedom of the press and independent labor unions.

The next year, he was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of conducting illegal business deals. Activists denounced the charges, which Mr. Fang denied, as punishment for his political comments.

Mr. Fang was released from prison in July. He was detained again in November, just before the 16th Congress of China's ruling Communist party, which installed new party leaders.

He was released shortly afterwards, but has been under police surveillance since then. Mr. Fang was expelled about a month after pro-democracy activist Xu Wenli was released from prison and sent to the United States.

Human Rights in China, a New York-based group, said they were disappointed that China has again decided the only way to deal with dissidents is to expel them.