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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 15:58 GMT
China 'frees' nun after 15 years
Dalai Lama
Many Tibetans remain fiercely loyal to the Dalai Lama
China has freed the last of the Tibetan nuns imprisoned for their political activities, a US-based activist says.

Phuntsog Nyidron, 37, was released on Tuesday after spending 15 years in prison, according to John Kamm of San Francisco's Dui Hua Foundation.

She was sentenced in 1989 for "counter-revolutionary propaganda", and had been due for release in March 2005.

China jailed 14 nuns in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many fled abroad after their release.

"I was in Beijing today and they told me that she has been released, she is not on parole, but completely released," Mr Kamm told AFP news agency.

However, activists expected Phuntsog Nyidron to be put under police surveillance.

Several US senators and congressmen had called for her release - which came a day after the US State Department criticised China for "backsliding" on human rights.

China imposed Communist rule after seizing Tibet in 1950.

The country's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has lived in exile since 1959.

Many Tibetans, especially monks and nuns, are fiercely loyal to him and stage sporadic protests against Chinese rule.


SEE ALSO:
China frees Tibetan nun
17 Oct 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Tibet envoy hints at China thaw
30 Sep 02  |  Asia-Pacific
China releases prominent Tibetan
20 Jan 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Tibet gets development zone
05 Nov 01  |  Business
US backs Dalai Lama
23 May 01  |  Asia-Pacific


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