Document 2 of 6.
Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
December 01, 1998
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 727 words
HEADLINE: China detains six in crackdown on opposition party
DATELINE: (ADDS protest over detentions)
By Patrick Baert
BEIJING, Dec 1 (AFP) - Six Chinese dissidents, including two vocal opponents of
the state, have been detained in a concerted police crackdown on the fledgling
China Democracy Party (CDP), relatives and a rights group said Tuesday.
At the same
time, CDP founder Wang Youcai was officially placed under arrest, after earlier
being detained for breaching terms of his parole, his wife said.
"We strongly protest the ongoing persecution of these citizens' efforts to
organise a peaceful, open political party," the US-based
Movement Network, which groups 30 dissident organisations, said in a faxed statement.
"We warn the Chinese government not to close off the last chance of peaceful
reform in China as advocated by the China Democracy Party."
In a coordinated sweep late Monday, police in Beijing picked up Xu Wenli, 54,
at the same time as Wuhan-based Qin Yongmin, 44, was detained in central China,
Police gave notice they were detaining the pair under suspicion of
attempting to overthrow the state, an accusation commonly levelled against
China's dissidents and a move that frequently leads to lengthy prison terms.
The two veterans of China's dissident movement have been singled out by police
for their repeated and vocal demands to have the CDP legally recognized by
authorities since its launch in late June.
Their detentions left few vocal activists behind, but three dissidents in
Beijing -- He Depu, Gao Hongming and Wang Zhiming -- protested and called for
their immediate release.
"We express our disappointment and fury at the neglect by some local
officials of the basic criteria of human rights," they said in a statement received by AFP.
"This contradicts the international covenant on civil and political rights China
has just signed. We hope the state leaders will correct these local officials'
Wang, from eastern Zhejiang province, was also officially
arrested on Monday after a month in detention for breaking parole conditions on
an earlier charge of subversion, his wife said.
"The police told me this afternoon that Wang Youcai was officially arrested
yesterday and that they have another 30 days to press charges," she said.
While Qin and
Xu remain in detention and have not been officially arrested, the moves against
the three most vocal members of the CDP come shortly after a high-level warning
that opposition parties will not be tolerated.
"If an organisation is designed to go for the multi-party system and attempts to
negate the leadership of the Communist Party then it will not be allowed to
exist," said Li Peng, the head of China's parliament and number two in the Communist
"Under our constitution, the Communist Party is the leader of China's revolution
and nation-building," he said in an interview published
Tuesday in the Handelsblatt, a German financial and business daily.
Police at Wuhan's Xingouqiao police station confirmed Qin was being held, while
Qin's father said police had indicated they were investigating a charge of
attempting to overthrow the state.
Xu's wife, He Xintong, said meanwhile that she was
not optimistic over the fate of her husband after he was taken away by 20
"The police specified that Xu was being 'detained' and not just 'questioned'," she told AFP.
"They told him that he was a 'suspect'."
Police searched Xu's home for almost four hours, seizing documents, his
computer and a fax machine.
They last took him into detention in October during the visit of British Prime
Minister Tony Blair and warned him to stop all activity linked with the CDP.
The detentions of Xu and Qin and the formal arrest of Wang came as four
lesser-known CDP members were also detained, the
Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human Rights and Information and
Democracy in China said.
In Wuhan, Chen Zhonghe, Lu Xinhua and Xiao Shichang were taken away by police,
while a sixth party member, Lai Jinbiao, was also taken away in Zhejiang
Efforts to obtain official recognition for the CDP began in Hangzhou at the end
of June, during US President Bill Clinton's landmark state visit to China.
Since then, attempts to set up provincial branches of the CDP in Shanghai,
Beijing, and at least seven
other provinces have failed.
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