Document 4 of 12.
Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
February 28, 1999
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 452 words
HEADLINE: China dissidents cancel conference in face of crackdown
DATELINE: BEIJING, Feb 28
Chinese opposition party activists have cancelled plans for a nationwide
meeting Monday in the face of a crackdown by authorities on the organisers, an
overseas dissident group said Sunday.
"The ... China Democracy Party (CDP) ... announces the cancellation of the
International Covenants Discussion Forum
scheduled from March 1 to March 3 due to the harsh crackdown by the Communist
government," the CDP said in a faxed statement issued through the US-based
Free China Movement.
The move came just hours before US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was
in Beijing for a visit aimed at improving rocky relations and preparing for
Premier Zhu Rongji's trip to the US in April.
The CDP had planned the meetings to discuss China's obligations under the two
United Nations conventions on human rights, both of which it has signed but not
The meeting, which could have gathered together hundreds of CDP supporters from
around the country, was to have been the first major move by the outlawed party
since three prominent members were given stiff jail sentences in December.
Activists in the eastern city of Hangzhou said a similar discussion would now
be held in a teahouse in the city Sunday, and comprise just 20-30 people from
new round of detentions, Wu Yilong was arrested at his home in Hangzhou late
Friday by two police officers who gave no reason, his wife Shan Chenfeng told
Wu is believed to be closely allied with CDP founder Wang Youcai, who was
for 11 years last December after he applied to register China's first
opposition party under communist rule.
Two activists in the central city of Wuhan, where the meeting was to have been
held, were still behind bars Sunday, dissident sources said. Chen Zhonghe and
Xiao Shichang both
remained in detention after being taken away from their homes on Tuesday.
CDP members had planned to hold their conference just before the opening on
March 5 of the annual full session of the National People's Congress or
Beijing has ordered local authorities to be on the lookout for
protests during the two-week session, according to the Hong Kong-based
Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.
Overseas dissidents reacted angrily to the move to cancel the forum.
"We feel very sorry ... that the forum in Wuhan has to be cancelled due to the
arrest of the two organizers," Free
China Movement activist Wang Xizhe said in a statement.
The group slammed US President Bill Clinton's policy of engagement rather than
confrontation with China, calling for greater pressure from the international
community over its human rights record.
LOAD-DATE: February 28, 1999
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