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Chinese activist Hu Jia freed

Photo: AFP

Hu Jia in this 2007 file photo. —

BEIJING: One of China's most prominent activists, Hu Jia, was reunited with his family early on Sunday after serving three-and-a-half-years in jail on subversion charges, but he needed rest and was not ready to speak in public, his wife said.

Mr. Hu, 37, was convicted in 2008 for “inciting subversion of state power”.

“He is back home with his parents and me,” his wife, Zeng Jinyan, told Reuters in a brief telephone interview.

Ms. Zeng had said on Twitter last week that Mr. Hu “will not be able to meet with the media”. “During this time, he must treat his cirrhosis and take care of his family,” she had said.

Mr. Hu suffers from cirrhosis of the liver and Ms. Zeng has said the ailment has worsened during his time in jail.

Before he was jailed, Mr. Hu pursued an energetic career as an environmental protection campaigner and as an advocate for rural victims of AIDS.

Regularly tipped as a potential candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Hu has won overseas human rights awards from bodies such as the European Parliament.

Mr. Hu's long-scheduled release followed this week's abrupt freeing from detention of the prominent artist and activist Ai Weiwei, and has come while Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is visiting Europe on trips to Hungary, Britain and Germany. — Agencies

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