updated 9/15/2006 4:56:13 PM ET 2006-09-15T20:56:13

A veteran dissident released this week after a seven-year sentence said Friday he was repeatedly abused in prison and plans to write about his experiences.

Zhu Yufu, 52, said he was released Thursday and was recuperating at home from beatings, sleep deprivation and other punishments meted out by guards and other prisoners at the Zhejiang No. 1 Prison in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

“The guards would tell three or four criminals to beat me, saying it was a private matter between prisoners,” Zhu said by phone from his home in Hangzhou.

“I survived, and now I just don’t care what they do. I’m going to let the outside world know what this government is really about,” Zhu said.

Zhu’s alleged abuse mirrors that of other dissidents, underscoring the singling out of political prisoners for especially harsh treatment by China’s communist authorities.

A man who answered the prison’s telephone said no media inquiries would be accepted and hung up without giving his name.

Zhu said he’d complained to local Hangzhou police following his release and was told they would “handle it according to the law.”

“But that’s just an attempt to mollify me,” Zhu said. “There’s no way or place to lodge a charge.”

A veteran of decades of pro-democracy campaigning, Zhu was arrested in the eastern city of Hangzhou in June 1999 following attempts to register a would-be opposition group, the China Democracy Party.

Dozens of activists were arrested and sentenced to up to 13 years in prison, most on charges of “subverting state power.”

Tried for distributing manifesto
Along with three others, Zhu was tried for circulating articles on the Internet, producing a party journal, and handing out copies of the party’s manifesto on Hangzhou’s streets. At least 31 other party members remain in prison, according to rights groups.

The communists allow no organized challenges to their iron grip on power and have continued to round up social and political activists in the years since the crackdown.

China allows a small number of officially recognized alternative parties, although they serve as advisers to rather than competitors with the ruling Communist Party.

Of the three others arrested with Zhu, former environmental protection bureau technician Xu Guang was released in September 2004 after serving a five-year sentence. The other two, Wu Yilong and Mao Qingxiang, are serving 11- and eight-year sentences, respectively.

Despite his treatment, Zhu said he felt no regrets for his involvement with the party, which he said had been aimed at testing the limits of communist tolerance.

“We were not wrong, though we went to prison. An open political system and a free press are what China needs most,” Zhu said.

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