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Hu Jia released after years in Chinese prison

Hu Jia, a prominent Chinese political activist, was released after 3-1/2 years in prison. Under the terms of his release he will not be able to speak to media for one year.

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Hu Jia: Security personnel stand with plainclothes and uniformed policemen and their vehicles as they block the road that leads to the residence of one of China's most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, after his release in Beijing, Sunday.

David Gray/Reuters

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A prominent Chinese political activist imprisoned for sedition was released Sunday at the end of his more than three-year sentence, his wife said, though his freedom could be limited by continued surveillance.

A major figure in China's dissident community, Hu Jia advocated a broad range of civil liberties before he was imprisoned in 2008. His 3 1/2-year prison sentence was set to end Sunday.

He returned home before dawn, Hu's wife Zeng Jinyan said in an online message. "Safe, very happy. Needs to recuperate for a period of time," Zeng said in a Twitter message.

No one answered Zeng's phones on Sunday, but she had said earlier she would announce his release on Twitter. She had visited him on Monday at the Beijing Municipal Prison.

Hu, 37, is known for his activism with AIDS patients and orphans. The sedition charge stems from police accusations that he planned to work with foreigners to disturb the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Hu's release comes amid one of the Chinese government's broadest campaigns of repression in years as Beijing has moved to prevent the growth of an Arab-style protest movement.

Like other dissidents released recently from jail, Hu might be kept under some sort of continued detention in his home, although such restrictions are illegal in China.

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