Dissident letter smuggled out

Peking - A handwritten appeal from a dissident imprisoned for life in 1989 has been smuggled out of jail, confounding attempts by the Chinese government to stop the flow of petitions reaching the outside world, writes Teresa Poole.

Yu Zhijian, who threw eggs full of paint at a portrait of Chairman Mao during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, said he was representing 54 activists imprisoned after the Tiananmen massacre, whose sixth anniversary is on Sunday. That a letter can be smuggled out of a Henan prison and reach foreign journalists in Peking, despite an intense clampdown, is yet further evidence of an effective network of activists within China.

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