Wu was arrested in April 2007 and sentenced to three years on extortion charges after campaigning for years against pollution in Taihu lake, one of China’s biggest freshwater lakes and once famed for its beauty.
Wu, who was released on April 12, said he was repeatedly beaten in jail, kept in solitary confinement and denied telephone contact and visits with family and friends.
“They used tree branches to whip my head, burned my hands with cigarettes and kicked and beat me until my arms and legs were swollen and my head was spinning,” Wu said.
“In July 2007, Yixing’s (Communist) party secretary and the police chief told me, ‘If you confess in writing, we will let you go. If you don’t cooperate, then we will fabricate evidence to make you a criminal.'”
Wu was once given an environmental award by the government for his efforts to clean up Taihu and shame the lake’s major industrial polluters.