China releases prominent human rights lawyer Teng Biao


The Chinese authorities have released a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao after 70 days in custody.

Rights group said he was freed on Friday afternoon and his wife was quoted as saying that he "is okay".

Mr Teng's release came shortly after China and the US held two-day of talks on human rights issues in Beijing.

But in a separate development, another well-known Chinese human rights lawyer Li Fangping has disappeared, human rights groups said.

His alleged disappearance "the very same day... suggests that security forces are conducting a carefully planned assault on outspoken human rights defenders in a calculated effort to eviscerate China's rights defence movement", Phelim Kine from New York-based Human Rights Watch organisation was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

China has not publicly commented on the reports of Mr Li's disappearance.

The advocacy group China Aid said both Mr Teng and Mr Li were members of the Chinese Christian Rights Defence Association.

Friday's release of Teng followed the talks in between Chinese officials and US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Ponser in Beijing.

Mr Posner told reporters that he had voiced Washington's "deep concerns" about the crackdown on dissidents and human rights activists, following appeals on the internet for mass protests similar to those that have rocked a number of Arab countries.

The organisation Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) says dozens of activists have been taken into police custody or placed under house arrest in recent months.

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