World

Mongolian dissident Hada freed by China

A Mongolian political dissident serving one of China's longest jail terms appears to have been released.

A Mongolian political dissident serving one of China's longest jail terms appears to have been released.

The 56-year-old man, known only as Hada, was supposed to have been freed on Friday.

China has not confirmed the accused spy's release, but pictures of Hada and his wife purportedly enjoying a meal together were posted online Saturday, leading many to speculate he and his family were reunited but under house arrest.

A Chinese court sentenced Hada in 1996 to 15 years in prison on charges of espionage and attempting to separate Mongolia from China.

In 1992, Hada helped found the Constitution of Mongolia Democratic Alliance in Inner Mongolia, which later was renamed the Southern Mongolia Democratic Alliance. China accused the group of being a reactionary separatist organization.

He was arrested on Mar. 9, 1996 at a rally at which hundreds of Mongolians waved portraits of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire and conqueror of several Chinese cities in the early 13th century.

Hada claimed he was only trying to urge the Chinese government to preserve Mongolian culture.

It is common in China for sensitive criminals to be monitored carefully for weeks or longer after being released from prison.

With files from the CBC's Anthony Germain