News / Asia

Rights Group: China Releases Prominent Dissident Early

Amnesty International activists rally in support of Chinese dissident Shi Tao in Hannover, Germany, in this April 22, 2012, file photo.
Amnesty International activists rally in support of Chinese dissident Shi Tao in Hannover, Germany, in this April 22, 2012, file photo.
Reuters
China has released from prison early a prominent dissident and journalist who was jailed in 2005 for leaking state secrets abroad after Yahoo was accused of helping authorities identify him, a rights group said.
 
Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Yahoo defended itself at the time, saying it had to abide by local laws.
 
The group PEN International said late on Saturday that Shi had been released 15 months before the end of his sentence.
 
“We welcome news of Shi Tao's early release, at a time when there seem to be increasingly long shadows over freedom of expression in China,” the group's Marian Botsford Fraser said in a statement.
 
“Shi Tao's arrest and imprisonment, because of the actions of Yahoo China, signaled a decade ago the challenges to freedom of expression of Internet surveillance and privacy that we are now dealing with,” added Botsford Fraser.
 
A Chinese rights activist, who is in contact with Shi, confirmed he had been released just over a week ago. The activist, who asked not to be identified, said Shi was not accepting interview requests for now.
 
It was not immediately clear why he had been let out early, though such releases can be granted in China due to good behavior in jail.
 
Shi's prosecution was based on an email he sent to a New York-based website detailing media restrictions ahead of the 15th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
 
PEN said that Shi “was treated relatively well in prison during the last few years, and wrote many poems, including 'Song of October' written from prison after he learned that Liu Xiaobo had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”
 
Liu was jailed in 2010 on subversion charges and new Chinese President Xi Jinping has shown no sign of wanting to release him or end the Communist Party's crackdown on dissidents and others who challenge the party's authority.
 
China is also in the midst of yet another push to rein in freedom of speech on the Internet, in what authorities say is a campaign to stop the spread of irresponsible rumors.
 
Yahoo shut its China email service last month, part of a gradual pull-back from the country since buying a stake in China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in 2005.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid