Document 27 of 39.
Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
June 29, 1998
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 482 words
China detains activist over opposition party
(ADDS White House reaction, background, fixes distance in par 4) By Lorien
BEIJING, June 29 (AFP) -
China on Monday detained Wang Youcai, a pro-democracy activist who had applied to
set up an opposition party just
hours before US President Bill Clinton arrived for his state visit.
Wang was taken from his home in eastern Zhejiang province mid-afternoon Monday,
his wife Hu Jiangxia said.
"Plain-clothes police came to our house around one o'clock and talked to my
about his activities and about the Chinese Democracy Party. They took him away
just before four o'clock," she said.
The detention came as Clinton flew out of Beijing for China's commercial centre
of Shanghai, which is some 150 kilometres (80 miles) (eds: correct) from Wang's
"President Clinton must tell the Chinese government now that they must release
Mr Wang unconditionally," the Washington-based
China Movement said in a fax.
"If not, he should cancel the rest of his schedule in China to show his strong
protest at the Chinese government's manipulation," the group added.
US officials travelling with Clinton said they were unaware of Wang's detention
but said the US government and official delegation would
"continue to raise these issues with the authorities."
A string of dissident detentions in the central city of Xian ahead of the
president's arrival there last Thursday caused Clinton to order his ambassador
to make an official protest to the authorities.
"While the president's trip is focusing on China's potential, there are of
major problems in this regard which we will continue to take up in discussion
with the Chinese authorities," a US official said.
"While there has been some progress, incidents like this are still taking place," he added.
Wang Youcai, who was number 15 on the government's most-wanted list
after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, lodged an application to form the
Chinese Democracy Party with Wang Donghai and Lin Hui on Thursday just hours
before the start of Clinton's visit.
It was the first open application to form an opposition party since the
came to power in 1949, and came despite almost zero tolerance from the
government towards open dissent.
Wang Donghai and Lin Hui both said they had so far been unaffected.
In an interview Sunday, Wang Donghai said they had used the cover of Clinton's
visit to mount a
challenge to the Communist Party's monopoly on power.
"I think everyone is playing the American card at the moment because President
Clinton is here," he said.
"We chose this time as it is very suitable, as everything is very calm and safer
than usual," he said by telephone.
A second group of Chinese dissidents said Saturday they had also
lodged an application to establish an opposition political party -- the Chinese
Democracy and Justice Party.
LOAD-DATE: June 29, 1998
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