China releases one of its longest-serving political prisoners, relative says | Reuters

China has freed one of its longest-serving political prisoners, the ethnic Mongol dissident Hada, who has spent much of the last two decades behind bars, his uncle said on Tuesday.

Beijing fears ethnic unrest in strategic border areas and keeps a tight rein on Inner Mongolia, just as it does on Tibet and Xinjiang in the far west, even though the region is supposed to have a large measure of autonomy.

“He’s not in good health,” the dissident’s uncle, Haschuluu, told Reuters, adding that Hada’s younger brother had told him of the release, which took place on Tuesday morning in the Inner Mongolian capital of Hohhot. He declined to comment further.

Many Mongols in China go by just one name.

Hada was tried behind closed doors in 1996 and jailed for 15 years for separatism, spying and supporting the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which sought greater rights for China’s ethnic Mongols. He says the charges were trumped up.

After being released in December 2010, he had to serve a separate sentence of four years of “deprivation of political rights”, mostly in an illegal detention center in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, his family says.

via China releases one of its longest-serving political prisoners, relative says | Reuters.

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