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Canine patrol security staff run during a daily training session at the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China in February 2018. Chinese authorities released freelance journalist Qi Chonghuai from prison in Shandong province on February 13, 2018, after he served over 10 years, according to reports. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

Chinese journalist released from prison

April 3, 2018 11:25 AM ET

Chinese authorities released freelance journalist Qi Chonghuai from prison in Shandong province on February 13, 2018, after he served over 10 years, according to Radio Free Asia.

Police in the city of Tengzhou arrested Qi in June 2007, and accused him of taking bribes from local officials while he was reporting on corruption, CPJ has documented. A Tengzhou court then sentenced Qi to four years in prison on charges of fraud and extortion, which the journalist denied, according to CPJ research. According to Qi's lawyer, Li Xiongbing, the people who accused Qi of extorting money were local officials threatened by the journalist's muckraking.

A Tengzhou court on June 9, 2011, extended Qi's original sentence to 12 years, according to news reports.

After his release, Qi told CPJ that the court extended his sentence because he wrote about his mistreatment in jail. The journalist published nine articles from November 27 through December 12, 2009 in Chinese on the New York-based news website Epoch Times.

Qi told CPJ that the articles eventually became an embarrassment to local officials prompting his release. "I kept making a big fuss about being beaten by prison staff and reporting them to their superiors until they finally released me," he said.

The journalist said that the prison officers warned him to not "cause trouble" after his release, though the officers did not specify what they meant by that.

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