Jailed Chinese activist said to be freed
BEIJING — A Chinese activist who was jailed for protesting a massive tainted-milk scandal posted a message online yesterday saying that he has been released on medical parole, but his supporters say it may be a way to silence him.
Zhao Lianhai, whose son was among children sickened in one of China’s worst food-safety scandals, was sentenced last month to 2 1/2 years in prison for inciting social disorder. He had campaigned for compensation for families of those killed or sickened by milk products tainted with the chemical melamine.
State media later said Zhao was seeking medical parole in a possible deal with authorities who were hoping to tamp public anger over his harsh sentence.
A message posted on a blog from Zhao’s account last night said he had been released and wants to be left alone.
“I support and thank the government and I feel deeply sorry for the remarks I made against the government in the past,’’ the message added.
Zhao could be reached to confirm the note.
Zhao first vowed to fight his conviction, said he would go on a hunger strike, and signed legal forms for an appeal. But he later was under apparent pressure not to appeal and dismissed his lawyers.