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World Tibet Network News

Sunday, February 21, 1999

2. Police break up New Year gathering of banned Chinese democracy party

by Jervina Lao

BEIJING, Feb 21 (AFP) - China stepped up its clampdown on a banned
pro-democracy party when police broke up a Lunar New Year gathering of
activists, detaining one member in the eastern city of Hangzhou, a
rights group said Sunday.

Wang Jinbo was detained Saturday afternoon when police dispersed the
50 activists from the China Democracy Party meeting in a tea-house in
Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre
for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said in a statement
faxed here.

"About 20 police arrived and inspected our identification cards. They
took away Wang Jinbo who was here for the New Year party," party member
Zhu Yufu told AFP, adding Wang was from the neighboring eastern province
of Shandong.

The centre said the group was celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year,
singing, dancing and drinking when police arrived in the tea house and
broke up the party.

Zhu said the fledgling party has lodged a protest against the police
action and demanded the immediate release of Wang who is still in

Chinese authorities have been cracking down on activists from the
outlawed opposition China Democracy Party (CDP) which has applied for
official permission to hold a congress in central Wuhan city from March

Xiao Shicheng and his colleague, Chen Zhonghe, both party members
from the central city of Wuhan, were detained for several hours last
Saturday when they were warned against holding the congress.

The CDP, the first group to actively seek to challenge the Commmunist
Party's 50-year rule over China, plans to hold its congress a few days
before the opening on March 5 of the annual plenary session of the
National People's Congress -- China's normally rubber-stamp parliament.

Police had implicitly threatened during their questioning that if
they went ahead with the congress they could expect the same fate as
three of the party's top leaders now behind bars, Xiao said.

Authorities last December jailed Beijing-based Xu Wenli, together
with Wuhan activist Qin Yongmin and party founder Wang Youcai, for 13,
12 and 11 years respectively on charges of subversion.

Police in Beijing, the northern city of Xian and central Wuhan also
detained three other party members, warning them to stop activities
related to the fledgling democracy party.

Meanwhile, authorities are considering a request from US-based
dissident Wang Xizhe to return to China to attend his father's funeral,
his wife said Sunday.

"He says he is returning home," Wang's wife Su Jiang told AFP, adding
Wang had gone to the Chinese consulate in New York on Saturday to ask
for a visa.

Wang's 80-year-old father, Wang Zhongxuan, died in a hospital in the
southeastern city of Guangzhou on Saturday, the Information Centre said
in a statement faxed here.

"I don't know if the government will allow him to come home," she
said, adding the Chinese consulate had told Wang the government would
consider his visa application and he would have to wait for a response.

Wang fled to the United States via Hong Kong in October 1996, a few
days after signing a declaration urging Tibetan independence. He was the
last dissident to be smuggled out of China through Hong Kong before the
territory reverted to mainland rule in July 1997.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. US-based dissident may return to China for father's funeral
  2. Police break up New Year gathering of banned Chinese democracy party
  3. Into the wild in search of rare, undiscovered plants Into the wild in search of rare, undiscovered plants

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