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Blind Chinese activist 'released'

A blind activist who revealed forced abortions and other abuses has been released from a Chinese prison.

He was then confined in his rural village, a relative said.

Chen Guangcheng, 39, is a self-taught lawyer who have fought with others to enforce the rights enshrined in China's Constitution but often breached by the authoritarian government.

Mr Guangcheng was imprisoned in 2006, marking the start of a government crackdown on activist lawyers.

He was escorted to his village on Thursday, relative Yin Dongjiang said. The family has been under heavy surveillance in recent days and authorities cut off the phone service for several relatives, he added.

"There are a lot of people in the village right now and the family isn't allowed to leave their home," Mr Dongjiang said.

Lawyer Teng Biao said he had a brief conversation with Mr Guangcheng after getting through to his wife's mobile phone after multiple attempts.

"He told me that he was at home but did not have personal freedom. There were eight or nine people outside his home and many others at intersections and entrances to his village," Mr Biao said.

Mr Guangcheng also told his lawyer he was in poor health after frequent bouts of food poisoning in prison.

Authorities installed six surveillance cameras in the village last week to help them monitor Mr Guangcheng, Mr Dongjiang said.

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