BEIJING (AP) — An air of freedom has returned to the Chinese village authorities turned into a stifling prison to keep legal activist Chen Guangcheng under house arrest.
Guard posts were removed, the hired men who manned them disappeared and surveillance cameras were taken down quietly in the past week.
People in Dongshigu and an adjacent village said Thursday they feel relatively free for the first time in nearly two years.
The security had remained in place even though Chen escaped the village six weeks ago. He fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and is now in New York to study law.
Rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong says local authorities likely decided to remove the measures to head off a promised investigation by the central government.
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