Thursday, October 7, 1999 Published at 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Leading Chinese dissident released
Liu Xiaobo backed 1989 Tiananmen Square protest
By Adam Brookes in Beijing
One of China's leading dissidents, Liu Xiaobo, is free having served out a three-year sentence in detention.
Mr Liu was sentenced in 1996 to what the Chinese government calls "re-education through labour" after he signed an open letter suggesting the leader of China's ruling Communist party be impeached.
Mr Liu, who is 44 years old, told the BBC by telephone from the north-eastern city of Dalian that he had been treated relatively well during his incarceration and that his health was good.
He said he intended to remain in China; he said he did not regret any of his political activities in the past and was not going to change.
Liu Xiaobo was an important figure in the protests that swept China in 1989, which were violently put down by the military, and led a hunger strike in support of the student democracy protestors on Tiananmen Square.
He was then sentenced to what is known in China as "re-education through labour". That is a penalty that the Chinese security apparatus can impose without trial for up to three years.
No 'softening' by authorities
His release came as scheduled and does not indicate any softening of the Chinese authorities' stance on dissent.
Even though the Communist Revolution's 50th anniversary has drawn the eyes of the rest of the world, the security authorities have moved concertedly against dissidents and non-government groups in recent months.