Document 16 of 39.
Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
July 11, 1998
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 431 words
HEADLINE: Eight more
China dissidents behind bars, ninth on the run
DATELINE: (UPDATES with names, details)
By Luisetta Mudie
BEIJING, July 11 (AFP) - Eight Chinese dissidents who tried to set up an
opposition party during US President Bill Clinton's state visit have been
arrested and a ninth is on the run from police, dissident sources and overseas
groups said Saturday.
Wang Donghai, Wang Youcai, Wang Qiang, Zhu Zhengming, Fang Xiaohuang, Wang
Peijian, Cheng Fan and Wu Gaoxing were taken away by public security officials
on Thursday and Friday, while police have been unable to find the ninth, Lin
sources said by telephone.
Wang Donghai, Wang Youcai and Lin Hui had applied last month to set up a legal
branch of their underground Chinese Democracy Party.
Their application, the first attempt to set up an authorised opposition party
since the communists came to power in 1949, coincided with a visit to China by
Clinton at the end of June during which China was praised for its growing
Chinese democracy lobby groups based
abroad also drew links between the arrests of the dissidents and the United
States' move to cooperate more closely with China.
One group, the New York-based Chinese Democratic Justice Party, emphasised that
the arrests came soon after Clinton left the Chinese mainland on July 2.
"As soon as
people leave, the tea gets cold," the group said in a statement.
Another organisation condemned Clinton's policy of engaging with Beijing on
human rights following news of the detentions.
"What we said about President Clinton's policy of constructive engagement with
China was accurate: that the Chinese government will
not work with the free world to improve human rights, because they are a brutal
communist dictatorship who no respect for freedom, democracy or human life," Lian Shengde, executive director of the New York-based
Free China Movement, said in a statement.
Chinese dissidents and
human rights groups in the US had written an open letter to Clinton before his
nine-day visit, criticising his policy of engagement as a means of improving
China's human rights record.
Republicans opponents in the US Congress had mounted a campaign to discredit
the trip, putting
forward witnesses who testified to forced abortions and other human rights
abuses under China's one-child policy.
Although China's President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji both say they
would like to move towards democratic elections, they insist China will not be
for such a move for at least 50 years.
The government does not tolerate dissent and regularly imprisons those who
voice their opposition.
LOAD-DATE: July 11, 1998
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