HONG KONG—Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have released a dissident writer and founding member of the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP) after he completed a four-year jail term for subversion.
Chen Shuqing, who founded the CDP alongside now-exiled dissidents Wang Youcai, Wang Donghai, and Lin Hui in June 1998, was handed over to police at his local police station by prison authorities Monday.
"The Hangzhou police took him straight to his home," said fellow Hangzhou-based dissident Zhu Yufu. "He was taken to his local police station and then they took him home."
Zhu said he and fellow activist Wang Rongqing had gone to the local district court in the hope of welcoming Chen as he was set free.
"They didn't want us to go and meet him," he said.
Chen was detained by Hangzhou police on Sept. 14, 2006 and sentenced the following August to a four-year jail term by the Gongshu District People's Court for "incitement to overthrow state power." He was released after time in detention was counted towards his sentence.
Chen said he had suffered health problems while in jail, due to lack of exercise.
"I was held in the detention center for 15 months along with more than 20 others," Chen said on his arrival home Monday.
"I started to get pain from my sciatica there if I didn't move around enough."
Chen said he had also complained of strong gases in the workshop where inmates made boxes with glue. "After my wife came to see me I told her, and she told people outside," Chen said. "After that, they gave me another job to do, thanks to everyone who expressed concern about this," Chen said.
He said he would appeal against the continuing deprivation of his political rights, which was handed down at the same time as the jail term.
"When I got to the police station I told them ... I wouldn't go along with their political oppression, and that whatever they did about that was their concern," Chen said.
"They told me that I would have to do as I was told in the year following the completion of my sentence, or ... they would take necessary action," he said.
He said he had resisted attempts to "reform" him in jail. "I told them I didn't go there to get reformed, that jail was jail, and that none of them could reform me."
Calls for political change
Zhu said jail terms for Chinese dissidents won't make calls for political change disappear.
"You can arrest all those people, but how many of them have changed their minds?" he said. "Not one of them."
"Arresting people isn't going to solve the problem. We need to think about what direction this society is going to develop in."
The attempt by Chinese political activists to set up the CDP by applying for a permit from Hangzhou's Communist Party civil affairs bureau ended in December 1998 with the sentencing of three of the group's founders to lengthy jail terms.
Zhejiang dissident Wang Youcai, Wuhan-based Qin Yongmin, and Beijing-based Xu Wenli were sentenced respectively to 11, 12, and 13 years in prison on charges of “instigation to subvert state power."
Also sentenced were Sichuan-based Liu Xianbin, Beijing-based Zha Jianguo, and Hangzhou-based Zhu Yufu and Wu Yilong, with the latter due to be released from prison Tuesday.
Xu Wenli and Wang Youcai were exiled to the United States on "medical parole" on December 24, 2002 and March 4, 2004 respectively.
The CDP, also known as the Democracy Party of China (DPC), held its first congress in August 2006 in New York.
Original reporting in Mandarin by Qiao Long. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.