Document 8 of 12.
Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
January 06, 1999
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 390 words
HEADLINE: China authorises police to fire on demonstrators: dissident group
DATELINE: BEIJING, Jan 6
China's leadership has authorised its law enforcers to open fire on
demonstrators if they need to disperse protests provoked by its economic
reforms, a US-based dissident group said Wednesday.
"The Chinese Communist Party Central Political and Judiciary Committee issued a
classified directive to all
public security forces and the armed police a few days ago," the
Free China Movement said in a statement.
"The directive provides for the armed forces to immediately open fire on mobs or
organised gangsters without warning and without reporting to their superiors in
under (certain) circumstances," it said.
Attacks on leaders' residences, military or police facilities, key government
agencies or broadcasting facilities and theft of weapons were among
circumstances where such action could be taken, it said.
In particularly sensitive cities which have already seen sporadic protests from
unpaid and laid-off workers like central Wuhan and
Changsha, in southern Hunan province, rules had been issued to prohibit the
blocking of traffic.
Police could use force if protesters refused to retreat within five minutes in
those cities, the organisation said.
China has been hit by a spate of protests as its draconian reform of its
inefficient and debt-ridden state-owned sector has resulted in millions of redundancies.
The government showed its sensitivity to the subject of social unrest when last
month it sentenced labour activist Zhang Shanguang to 10 years' imprisonment
"endangering state security".
Zhang had set up an organisation to protect the rights of laid
off workers and given an interview to US-based Radio Free Asia on peasant
China does not allow any trade unions or labour organisations other than those
sanctioned by the Communist Party and regularly throws unofficial labour
organisers into prison.
More than 10 million
workers have already been laid off from loss-making state enterprises and there
are plans to cut six million more jobs this year, moves which could lead to
widespread social unrest as redundant workers are cut off from cradle-to-grave
housing, medical care and pensions.
"We have kept on receiving calls from people
asking us what they should do because their rights of survival are threatened," the Free China Movement statement said.
LOAD-DATE: January 06, 1999
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