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Shanghai Dissident Zhang Xianliang Released

June 8, 1996

BEIJING (AP) _ A pro-democracy activist imprisoned for attempting to commemorate the Chinese army’s assault on students in Tiananmen Square has been released after serving three years in a labor camp.

Dissident writer Zhang Xianliang, 47, was jailed and sentenced without trial in the summer of 1993 for allegedly ``inciting incidents.″ He had tried to arrange a commemoration of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen massacre. He also spoke to foreign reporters.

The Shanghai native was allowed to return home after his release Friday, he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Saturday.

Aside from some health problems, ``everything else is fine,″ Zhang said without elaborating.

Zhang, who writes under the name Shen Mo, founded the pro-democracy journal ``Science and Democracy″ in 1978 and was imprisoned from 1983-1988 on charges of ``counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.″

His release follows that of Bao Tong, a top political aide to ousted reformist party chief Zhao Ziyang. Bao was released May 27 after serving a seven-year sentence.

Another well-known dissident, Ren Wanding, is set to be free Sunday from a Beijing prison where he has spent the last seven years, also for counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.

One of China’s best known activists, Ren was jailed on June 9, 1989, shortly after the Tiananmen crackdown, in which hundreds, perhaps thousands are believed to have been killed.

Despite the recent releases of several well known activists, two years of near constant police harassment and detentions have left most dissidents in jail, exile or fear.

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