Document 5 of 12.
Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
February 28, 1999
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 583 words
HEADLINE: Chinese opposition party cancels national meeting in face of crackdown
By Luisetta Mudie
BEIJING, Feb 28 (AFP) - Chinese opposition party activists on Sunday cancelled
a planned nationwide meeting because of a renewed crackdown by the authorities
ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
"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 Albright was expected in Beijing for a visit aimed at improving rocky
relations and preparing for Premier Zhu Rongji's trip to the United States in
The CDP had planned the meetings to discuss China's obligations under the two
United Nations covenants 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
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
China, calling for greater pressure from the international community over
Beijing's human rights record.
In a renewed crackdown on dissent, the authorities detained CDP activist Wu
Yilong at his home in Hangzhou Friday but gave no reason for his detention, his
wife Shan Chenfeng told AFP.
Wu is believed to be closely allied with CDP founder Wang Youcai, who was
jailed 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.
In Beijing, environmental activist Peng Ming was sentenced on Saturday to 18
months in a labour camp without trial on charges of whoring.
US-based dissidents condemned Peng's sentence, saying the charges against him
were trumped up.
"The prostitution charges against Peng Ming were fabricated by the authorities," a Hong Kong-based rights group
quoted China Development Union (CDU) activist Yi Gai as saying.
"The CDU strongly condemns Peng Ming's sentencing without trial to 18 months in
labour camp," Yi said in a statement issued through the Information Centre of Human Rights
and Democratic Movement
It said Beijing police had detained him in a karaoke parlour on January 25 as a
hostess was clearing away plates and glasses from his table and accused him of
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 parliament.
Beijing has ordered local authorities to be on the lookout for protests during
the two-week session, the Hong Kong Information Centre said.
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