Concerns Over Writer's Mental Health

He is freed after his disappearance in February sparked torture concerns.

china-prison-305.gif A protester holds a paper-made prison door in front of a policeman (R) standing guard during Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hong Kong, Aug. 18, 2011.

Authorities in China's eastern Anhui province have released writer and activist Hu Di, who went missing amid a nationwide crackdown on dissent in February, his relatives said.

His disappearance in February had sparked concerns that he was at risk of torture.

According to Hu's friends, his family was worried over the activist's mental health since his release from detention Monday, on which the Mid-Autumn Festival fell.

Hu "disappeared" in February after supporting online calls for a "Jasmine" revolution inspired by uprisings in the Middle East, according to the China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) group.

Calls to Hu's mobile phone went unanswered on Monday. However, a close friend in Guangzhou surnamed Zheng said he had recently spoken to Hu.

"He didn't give any concrete details about what happened in detention," Zheng said. "He just wants to spend a period of time in peace and to take care of his aging parents."

"[He said] he needs some time to recover," Zheng said. He said a number of Hu's friends and online supporters were concerned at reports that he had been taken to a psychiatric hospital following his detention.

"He was pretty normal before he was detained," Zheng said. "What happened after he was detained to put him in a mental hospital? Did he suffer mistreatment and torture?"

But for now, Zheng said Hu was reluctant to comment on his time in police custody. "He said everyone should stop worrying and that he doesn't want much contact with the outside world," he said.

Reported by Fang Yuan for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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