Chi­nese le­gal ac­tivist freed from prison

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEI­JING — A Chi­nese le­gal ac­tivist who founded a loose net­work of so­cially con­scious ci­ti­zens was re­leased from prison Satur­day at the end of a four-year sen­tence, his lawyer said.

Xu Zhiy­ong helped found the New Ci­ti­zens Move­ment, which at the time or­ga­nized monthly din­ners to dis­cuss China’s constitution and other le­gal is­sues.

Zhang Qing­fang, Xu’s at­tor­ney, said he was freed Satur­day morn­ing from a prison in Bei­jing. He said Xu was in good health but had no fur­ther de­tails to share.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear whether Xu’s move­ments con­tin­ued to be re­stricted. Au­thor­i­ties com­monly place ac­tivists seen as po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive un­der some form of house ar­rest to pre­vent them from speak­ing pub­licly.

Xu was con­victed in Jan­uary 2014 of dis­rupt­ing or­der in pub­lic places, a vaguely de­fined charge that ac­tivists say has been used to muz­zle gov­ern­ment crit­ics.

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