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Case Update: Shaanxi Dissident Zhao Changqing Released from Prison Following Completion of Sentence

November 28, 2007

Shaanxi Dissident Zhao Changqing, who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and three years’ additional deprivation of political rights in August 2003, was released on November 27, 2007 upon completing his sentence. Zhao was convicted of “incitement to subvert state power” in relation to an open letter he sent to the Communist Party of China’s 16th Party Congress in 2002, calling for political reform. According to a report by Radio Free Asia, Zhao stated that he intends to remain active in the democracy movement in China. He also said that he does not intend to petition the authorities to challenge the sentence he served. Zhao stated that he believes petitioning is not effective in a system without a rule of law.

This release follows the end of Zhao’s third imprisonment. As a result of his participation in the democracy movement in the spring of 1989, he was imprisoned for more than four months. After accusing the local government of violating election laws during his campaign for a People’s Congress representative position in 1997, Zhao was sentenced to three years in prison on the charge of “incitement to subvert state power.” Zhao’s most recent detention came in 2002 as one of 192 opposition activists who signed an open letter to China’s 16th Party Congress calling for political reform.

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