Document 2 of 11.
Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
December 18, 1998
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 321 words
HEADLINE: Dissidents to trigger communist party power struggle: rights group
DATELINE: BEIJING, Dec 18
A wave of international support surrounding the trials of dissidents Qin
Yongmin and Wang Youcai, could magnify growing factionalism within the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) and trigger a power struggle, a US-based rights group
"There currently exists different factions inside the
CCP leadership regarding how China should deal with dissidents," said Ning Ye, lawyer and spokesman for the US-based
Free China Movement, in a faxed statement received here.
"This could trigger a power struggle within the CCP," he added.
According to Ning, the scale of protest launched by the opposition China
Democracy Party (CDP) members surrounding the trials of Qin and Wang is an
"unprecedented breakthrough since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre."
The two men, founding members of the fledgling
CDP, have been charged with attempting to overthrow the state, amidst angry
international protest over China's ongoing suppression of its dissidents.
Qin and Wang were tried Thursday in separate courts in the central cities of
Wuhan and Hangzhou respectively, but verdicts had not been announced as of
Ning claimed that the government's
original plan, to punish a select group of leading dissidents in order to quell
the movement, triggered an unexpected
"world-wide and highly publicized movement in support of the CDP."
"Now the Chinese Communist Party has a real dilemma," he said.
Lian Shengde, Free China
Movement executive director, pointed to the wide ranging support the CDP now
claims, including workers, college students and even retired CCP ranking
"The Chinese people have shown that they are hungry for democracy in China. They
are willing to risk their freedom just as they did in 1989," Lian said.
A student-led pro-democracy demonstration in the spring of 1989 led to a brutal
army crackdown on June 4 in which hundreds were killed according to witnesses.
LOAD-DATE: December 18, 1998
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