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The Associated Press

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The materials in the AP file were compiled by The Associated Press. These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press.

June 29, 1998, Monday, AM cycle

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 418 words

HEADLINE: Chinese dissident arrested after trying to register democratic party

BYLINE: By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press Writer


    A democracy activist who was trying to set up an opposition political party was detained Monday by Chinese police - the latest dissident rounded up during President Clinton's visit.

Plainclothes police showed up at Wang Youcai's home in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Monday, according to dissident groups in the United States and Hong Kong.

Wang had tried to register his China Democracy Party with provincial authorities Friday but was turned away. He had planned to try again Monday afternoon, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement said.

His application marked the first time Chinese dissidents have openly tried to gain government approval for an opposition party, the Washington-based Free China Movement reported.

Wang, a student leader in the democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, was at least the sixth dissident taken into custody since Wednesday. He spent 2 years in prison for helping lead the 1989 protests and has had repeated run-ins with police ever since.

His detention came as Clinton left Beijing for Shanghai, China's financial center. Clinton took up the previous arrests with President Jiang Zemin, but Jiang afterward defended the police action as important for security.

On this visit to China, Clinton has emphasized the need for the government to allow more freedom. At Peking University on Monday, he said China needed a freer society to maintain its economic prosperity.

Clinton has refused appeals by Chinese human rights campaigners to meet with a dissident, however.

A group of 125 Chinese dissidents urged Clinton on Monday to meet former Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted by party elders for resisting the 1989 military crackdown.

Zhao has lived under house arrest since being purged nine years ago and remains a potent symbol of a more tolerant era in Chinese politics. Last week, he reportedly sent party leaders a letter urging a reassessment of the protests.

In an open letter released Monday, the 125 dissidents said Zhao would have pushed democratic reforms together with economic ones, and in the process the corruption and unemployment that China faces now would have been less severe.

Four of the six dissidents detained in the past week were arrested in Xi'an, Clinton's first stop, and released after he left.

Authorities in Guilin have told the family of democracy activist Li Xiaolong that he will not be freed until after Clinton tours that southern city on Thursday.


LOAD-DATE: June 29, 1998

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