THE family of Bao Tong, former top aide of Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, was last night puzzled by claims that he had been set free. Justice Minister, Mr Cai Cheng, was quoted by local television last night saying the government has released the 60-year-old Bao to the public security authorities. But a family member said that Bao - jailed in 1989 as part of the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement - was still inside the top-security Qincheng Prison in Beijing. Asked the latest condition of Bao, Mr Cai said: ''I don't know. After we released this man, he was managed by public security authorities in his locality. ''He is not the same as ordinary prisoners managed by the Ministry of Justice.'' The authorities recently improved Bao's conditions and allowed the family to visit monthly, instead of every two months. During the interview, Mr Cai also said the one-day visit by Wei Jingsheng to Tangshan city was part of the Ministry of Justice's policy to allow political prisoners to see changes outside prison. He said other political prisoners linked to the 1989 pro-democracy movement, including Chen Ziming and Wang Juntao, had also been allowed to tour new developments in Beijing. According to Mr Cai, the political prisoners had expressed support for the government's economic reforms and open-door policy after witnessing the drastic changes that had taken place. But the Justice Chief said the chances of the remaining June 4 political prisoners being released before finishing their terms were slim, as their performances in prison were not impressive.