Mao Tse-tung's widow, Jiang Qing, reported to have been periodically released from prison for treatment of throat cancer, has refused surgery that would result in losing her voice, a Chinese press report said.

The report, by the newspaper Information Daily published in southern China's Jiangxi Province, was received in Beijing Thursday. It was the latest in a series of similar recent reports about the jailed leader of the "Gang of Four."China's Justice Ministry has steadfastly denied reports Jiang, 74, suffers from throat cancer or has been freed. Officials said in January she is suffering only from ailments related to old age.

A one-time actress who was Mao's fourth wife, Jiang rose to wield vast power during the chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution as leader of the radical Communist Party functionaries known as the "Gang of Four."

The Information Daily said Jiang, who lives in a prison outside Beijing, has been released periodically to see doctors at a Beijing tumor hospital. It said cancer experts had advised her to undergo surgery on her throat that would cause her to lose her voice.

But Jiang has refused the operation, saying she wants to remain able to speak, the newspaper said.