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Missing journalist reappears in China

A rights activist and journalist who sought asylum in Thailand has reappeared in China, according to his wife. He was allegedly forced to spy on his colleagues by Chinese state security agents.

Chinese journalist and rights activist Li Xin, a former writer for the semi-independent "Southern Metropolis Daily," has reappeared in China after disappearing in early January as he sought asylum in Thailand, his wife, He Fangmei, said on Thursday.

Li left China for India in October after Chinese authorities allegedly forced him to spy on fellow journalists and activists, the AP news agency reported, citing an interview with the writer in October.

"He won't tell me where he is in China, but asks me to stay rested and live my life," He told AP. "He asked me not to contact any outsider for it does no good to him or me.

"But I know that's the pattern, and Li completely spoke contrary to his own will," she added.

Li's reappearance comes amid an increase of reported disappearances of Chinese dissidents abroad generally blamed on state security agents.

"Beijing used to take into account foreign governments and respect other countries' laws, but in tandem with its rising strength in economy and expanding political influence, Beijing is becoming more overt in its operations," said long-time dissident Hu Jia.

In mid-January, Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai appeared on state television CCTV after disappearing from his residence in Pattaya, Thailand.

He confessed to accidentally running over a 20-year-old college student in a drunk-driving incident more than a decade ago, saying he returned to China and turned himself in.

These incidents show the "growing length of the Chinese government's long arm beyond its borders," said Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch.

ls/sms (AP, Reuters)

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