World News

China releases two dissidents after 8 years in jail

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has released two dissidents after eight years in jail but two others sentenced at the same time remain in prison, a human rights group said. Yang Zili, a computer engineer, and Zhang Honghai, a freelance writer, walked free on Thursday after completing their sentences, the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China said in an emailed statement.

Yang and Zhang, along with geologist Jin Haike and journalist Xu Wei who have both yet to be released, were accused of posting essays critical of the government on the Internet and setting up a discussion group.

Their New Youth Society was dedicated to exploring democracy and social reform. One essay was titled “China’s democracy is fake”.

During their court hearing, the defendants said they had been tortured in detention, enduring electric shocks to the genitals and beatings, the group said.

It added that Jin was suffering debilitating intestinal diseases in jail, while Xu is believed to have developed a mental illness and has been transfered to a facility for sick prisoners.