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Chinese Physics Professor Tong Shidong Conditionally Released from Prison
March 13, 2006

Tong Shidong, a retired 72-year-old Chinese physics professor, was conditionally released from prison on March 9, 2006. He reportedly was granted two reductions in his sentence totaling 39 months for good behavior and because of his advanced age. It is our understanding that he will be deprived of his political rights for the next three years—including freedom of expression, assembly, and association—in accordance with his original sentence.

Professor Tong, who taught physics at Hunan University, was arrested on June 10, 1999. He was subsequently charged with “subverting state power” for attempting to lawfully register a chapter of the opposition China Democracy Party (CDP) at Hunan University. Professor Tong was tried together with a Hunan labor organizer, Liao Shihua, with whom he reportedly had been editing a CDP journal entitled Opposition Party. On November 30, 1999, Professor Tong was brought to trial at Changsha’s Intermediate People’s Court. His trial was closed to all observers, including members of his family. He was convicted of allegedly subverting state power and was sentenced to 10 years in prison to be followed by 3 years’ deprivation of political rights. The U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation was notified of Professor Tong’s impending release several days in advance by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.