Tainted-milk activist Zhao Lianhai was released on medical parole on Tuesday and is being treated in a Beijing hospital, Zhao's former lawyers said yesterday. Zhao called the lawyers, Li Fangping and Peng Jian , briefly via the internet at 5.28pm and 5.35pm yesterday, saying he had been home to see his family late on Tuesday night and was now undergoing treatment in a hospital. He didn't specify the nature of his illness. Both lawyers said the phone line was not very clear but they could still recognise Zhao's voice. 'He sounded very calm and healthy and he said he was very happy to see his family,' Peng said. Zhao, the father of a child affected by melamine-tainted milk and the organiser of a parents' group seeking redress for the 300,000 victims on the mainland, was jailed on November 10 for 2 1/2 years for 'provoking quarrels and making trouble'. Melamine, an industrial chemical, was added to some milk on the mainland to fool protein tests and some of it found its way into baby formula, causing kidney stones in infants, at least six of whom died. An online blog entry under Zhao's name on Tuesday said he had been released from jail but the posting could not be confirmed. Peng said: 'Zhao said he shouldn't have been so confrontational [in his campaigning for kidney stone babies] before. He said he and the authorities were both responsible for things ending up like this, and there hadn't been good communication between them.' Peng said it was a big U-turn compared to Zhao's determination to appeal on November 12, the last time Peng saw him. But Peng said he had also expected such a twist since he and Li were fired by a note supposedly written by Zhao. Li said Zhao had spoken to him for just two or three minutes yesterday afternoon. 'He must be still under close surveillance and was asked by the authorities to make the phone calls to let the outside know he had been released,' Li said. 'It appears Zhao has reached a deal with the government, giving up an appeal for a medical parole and reunion with his family.' Zhao said he would continue seeking help for melamine-affected babies when he had his freedom and would concentrate on doing practical things, Peng said. Zhao also asked the two lawyers to pass on his gratitude and new year wishes to concerned friends. But he did not want to talk to the media yet. Mo Zhixu , a Beijing-based political analyst and columnist, said he fully understood Zhao's actions, no matter what kind of decision he had made. 'Zhao has done enough [for kidney stone babies] already and his freedom of movement will be limited under medical parole.' Mo said the internet and media had given momentum to the campaign for human rights in general, which had naturally led to more confrontation with the authorities and tighter government control. Lew Mon-hung, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference who has spoken out against Beijing's handling of Zhao's case, said: 'From a humanitarian perspective, it is delightful to hear that Zhao Lianhai has been released and reunited with his family. 'However, we should continue to probe responsibility for the unlawful acts of the Daxing District People's Court. It detained Zhao for too long, handed down an overdue judgment, held the trial in the dark and deprived Zhao of his right to appeal.'