Document 1 of 8.
Copyright 1998 Associated Press
October 01, 1998; Thursday
10:54 Eastern Time
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 343 words
HEADLINE: Dissidents call on China to respect international rights treaties
With China planning to sign a key U.N. rights treaty next week, dissidents in
China and in exile issued a statement Thursday calling on Beijing to abolish
laws that deprive Chinese of basic rights in violation of international
Laws that must go
include those that require government approval before any organizations can be
formed and allow for labor camp sentences of up to three years without trial,
the statement said.
It was issued by a group of Beijing dissidents trying to form a China Democracy
Party and overseas
members of the U.S.-based
Free China Movement. The groups said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press that they were
disseminating the document in China via the Internet.
''We have seen the threat and harm caused by the lack of a fair and independent
legal system to freedom of association and other freedoms,'' the statement
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said in Washington that China will sign
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in
New York on Monday.
The covenant, one of two key U.N. rights treaties, calls on signatories to
allow freedom of expression, the press, religion and association.
China already has signed the other main treaty, the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but has not
Unless China stops violating human rights and changes its laws to comply with
the treaties, its promise to abide by them will be ''simply a joke,'' Wang
Xizhe, a longtime activist now in exile, said in a news release.
Chinese authorities continue to
hold labor and democracy activists in detention centers, prisons and labor
Authorities in the past two weeks have rejected attempts by activists around
the country to register the China Democracy Party. Police have detained at
least a dozen democracy campaigners, often for
short periods of time. Most have connections to the would-be opposition party.
The Communist Party has not allowed any opposition parties to
orm since it came to power 49 years ago.
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