Tong Yi Released

On Thursday, October 2, 1996, Chinese dissident Tong Yi, former secretary to jailed democracy activist Wei Jingsheng was freed after completing a 2 1/2 year term of "re-education through labor."

Tong had been sentenced to the punishment of re-education through labor in Wuhan, after being accused of forging a seal and being an "accessory" to her mentor, Wei Jingsheng. Wei, regarded by many as the father of China's democracy movement, was sentenced to 14 years in prison last December on new charges of counter-revolutionary crimes.

Support Democracy in China worked for Tong's release through its Adopt a Dissident Program.

Tong, a student activist during the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989, said she had no definite plans for the future, but was eager to catch up with events in China and abroad after more than two years with little access to news.

Upon release, Chinese authorities said to her, "Don't try to set yourself against the government."

"I don't know what that means," Tong responded.

About Wei's continued incarceration, Tong said, "I am very concerned about him, and I will continue to be very concerned. Wei Jingsheng is a very determined person and I am confident he will face this new challenge."

Support Democracy in China welcomes the release of Tong Yi, and will continue to work for the freedom of Wei Jingsheng.

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