More than 100 U.S. lawmakers have asked Chinese President Hu Jintao to grant parole to a U.S.-based Chinese dissident jailed for illegally entering the country and spying.

The request was made in letters delivered Wednesday to the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Yang Jianli, who was arrested in April 2002, was sentenced in May to five years in prison. Counting time served, he will be eligible for parole on October 26.

He was arrested after entering China on a friend's passport in an attempt to observe labor unrest in the country.

The United States and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Mr. Yang, who is the founder and president of an organization seeking to promote democracy in China.