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June 29, 1998, Monday, PM cycle
SECTION: International News
LENGTH: 517 words
HEADLINE: Chinese dissident arrested after trying to register democratic party
BYLINE: By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press Writer
Chinese police detained a democracy activist today who was trying to set up an
opposition political party - the latest dissident rounded up during President
Clinton's visit to
Plainclothes police showed up at Wang Youcai's home in eastern Hangzhou
city this afternoon and took him away three hours later, according to dissident
groups in the United States and Hong Kong.
Having been turned away by officials Friday, Wang had planned to try again
today to register his
China Democracy Party with provincial authorities, the Hong Kong-based Information
Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement said.
The application marked the first time Chinese dissidents have openly tried to
gain government approval for an opposition party, the Washington-based
Free China Movement reported.
Wang, a student leader in the democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in
1989, was at least the
sixth dissident taken into custody since Wednesday.
Wang spent 2 years in prison for helping lead the 1989 protests and has had
repeated run-ins with police ever since.
His detention came as Clinton left Beijing for Shanghai, China's financial
center. Clinton took up the
previous arrests with President Jiang Zemin, but Jiang afterward defended the
police action as important for security.
In China, Clinton has emphasized the need for the government to allow more
freedom. Addressing students and faculty at Peking University today, he called
a freer society
necessary to maintaining economic prosperity.
However, Clinton has refused appeals by Chinese democracy and human rights
campaigners to meet with a dissident.
In the latest such appeal, 125 Chinese dissidents called on Clinton to meet
former Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted by
party elders for resisting the 1989 military crackdown.
Zhao has lived under house arrest since being purged nine years ago and remains
a potent symbol of a more tolerant era in Chinese politics. Last week, he
reportedly sent party leaders
a letter urging a reassessment of the protests.
In an open letter released today, the 125 dissidents said Zhao would have
pushed democratic reforms together with economic ones and in the process
corruption and unemployment would have been less severe.
Four of the six dissidents detained in the past week were
arrested in Xi'an, Clinton's first stop, and released after the president left.
Authorities in Guilin have told the family of democracy campaigner Li Xiaolong
that he will not be freed until after Clinton tours the southern city Thursday.
Also today, The Los Angeles Times reported that a
Chinese dissident jailed during the 1989 crackdown was warned by security
officials not to speak to foreign journalists during Clinton's visit.
"I was told by the police I have to refuse to give any interview to any foreign
journalists," said Bao Tong, the highest-ranking advocate
for democracy to emerge from the ranks of the Chinese Communist Party.
Bao told the Times he felt compelled to cancel a meeting in Beijing with one of
its reporters. He did speak to the newspaper by telephone.
LOAD-DATE: June 29, 1998
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