Document 14 of 39.
Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
July 12, 1998
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 596 words
HEADLINE: Chinese dissidents react angrily to detentions
DATELINE: (ADDS open letter to president)
By Lorien Holland
BEIJING, July 12 (AFP) - Chinese dissidents reacted angrily Sunday to the
detention of five pro-democracy activists who attempted to set up a political
opposition party during the visit of US President Bill Clinton.
"The Chinese government has again demonstrated to the
world that they have no credibility," the
Free China Movement said in a statement signed by 142 dissidents from inside and outside the
"We sternly condemn the Clinton administration's unprecedented betrayal of
freedom (by praising improving human rights in
China during Clinton's visit here)," it
On Saturday, police in the eastern province of Zhejiang rounded up nine
dissidents who were connected to the fledgling Chinese Democracy Party (CDP).
While four were released the same day, the future looked increasingly bleak for
three of the five that remain in detention.
mainland activists dispatched a letter Sunday to President Jiang Zemin and
Premier Zhu Rongji urging immediate action to free the detainees.
"President Jiang recently anounced to the world that China would sign the
international covenant on political and civil rights in the autumn, but the
fact is that this serious
violation of citizen's rights is against your own commitments," the group said, according to one of the co-authors, Qin Yongmin.
"We are deeply concerned and fearful of this action and we call on you to order
the Zhejiang police to immediately correct this wrong action and release these
citizens," it said.
Lin Mu and Yang Hai, who were detained during Clinton's visit to the central
Chinese city last month, also made a call for the immediate and unconditional
release of the five.
"The families of Wang Youcai, Wang Donghai and Zhu Yufu have already been
informed by the police to bring clothes and
daily necessities to the detention centre," said Lu Siqing, spokesman of the Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human
rights and Democratic Movement in China.
"This means that at the very least they will be detained for a long time, and
the situation does not look good," he added.
The activists applied to
set up the CDP just hours before the arrival of Clinton in China at the end of
June. Their application was the first since the Communist Party took power in
1949, and came despite almost zero tolerance from the government towards open
Wang Qiang, one of the four
dissidents released Saturday, said police repeatedly told him the CDP was an
illegal organisation, while other sources said they feared there would be
charges of conspiring to overthrow the government.
"The Chinese authorities detained our CDP leaders on the charge of conspiring to
overthrow the government. The charge is libellous and a distortion of the facts," the
fledgling party said in a statement released from the United States.
"The CDP is not a party seeking the overthrow of the government through a
consiracy. The CDP is a political party which calls for fair political
competition with the Chinese Communist Party and these rights have been
specified in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights," it added.
Although Jiang Zhu say they would like to move toward democratic elections,
they insist China will not be ready for such a move for at least 50 years.
"We believe that the Chinese communist dictators are unable to eradicate the CDP
and its spirit. We also
believe that the advancement of the Chinese pro-democracy movement, no matter
how difficult it is, will not be stopped," the CDP said.
LOAD-DATE: July 12, 1998
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