China rights lawyer resurfaces after detention

China has released a crusading rights lawyer who was detained more than two months ago in a massive security crackdown aimed at preventing any Middle East-inspired unrest.

Teng Biao returned home Friday afternoon but it was not convenient for him to speak with the media, his wife Wang Ling said. She declined to comment on his physical or mental well-being.

Other lawyers and activists released after similar detentions have also declined to speak to the media, perhaps as a condition of their release.

China Human Rights Defenders, a Hong Kong rights advocacy group, said earlier that Teng disappeared Feb. 19 and that officers searched his home and seized two computers, a printer, articles, books, DVDs and photos of another rights lawyer, Chen Guangcheng.

A law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, Teng was among dozens of well-known lawyers and activists across China who have vanished, been interrogated or criminally detained for subversion as China's authoritarian government, apparently unnerved by events in the Middle East and North Africa, has moved to squelch dissent.

The most high-profile person targeted by authorities so far is Ai Weiwei, famed Chinese artist and outspoken government critic, who had been keeping an informal tally of the recent detentions on Twitter before he disappeared early this month.

Meanwhile, a scholarly expert on China's role in the Korean War jailed for more than a decade for spying, will be released in June after his sentence was reduced further, a human rights group said.

The Intermediate Court in the southern city of Guangzhou has given scholar Xu Zerong a third sentence reduction, slicing five more months from his 13-year-prison term, the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation said Thursday.

Xu's detention in 2000 came as Chinese security forces began turning their attention to what they considered to be spying networks involving Chinese academics with foreign ties.

Xu, a Hong Kong native who also goes by the name David Tsui, had copied books and documents on the Korean War he thought were declassified and had given them to a South Korean scholar, Dui Hua said. He was arrested for providing intelligence to foreigners, among other charges.

During the investigation, an office in the Guangzhou Military Region said that the materials Xu copied were still classified as secrets, Dui Hua said.