Document 7 of 39.
Copyright 1998 Associated Press
September 11, 1998; Friday
01:02 Eastern Time
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 314 words
HEADLINE: Democracy activists try to register opposition party in
Democracy activists trying to register an opposition political party in a
Chinese province said Friday that officials gave them reason to hope they might
Dissidents have been trying to register the
China Democracy Party with the government since U.S. President Bill Clinton visited
Police in eastern Zhejiang province rounded up 12 democracy campaigners
connected to the group in July.
But Xie Wanjun and Liu Lianjun said in a statement that officials of the Civil
Affairs Ministry in Shandong province have been more encouraging, according to
accounts from human
rights groups. On Thursday the officials told the dissidents their application
would be granted if it met all national laws.
The Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement
in China reported that one official showed the Shandong dissidents a memo
saying the government was
considering their application.
If approved, it would be the first time that the ruling Communist Party has
allowed an opposition party to be formed since coming to power 49 years ago.
''We cautiously appreciate the positive gesture made by the Chinese government
towards the long expected relaxation of the taboo on free
association in the People's Republic of China,'' the Washington-based
Free China Movement Network said in a statement.
Instead of summarily dismissing the application, the government officials told
the activists what additional information was needed, including a statement
about the necessity of organizing such a group, the
China Movement Network said.
In their initial application, the Shandong activists stated the China Democracy
Party did not intend to challenge the leadership position of the Communist
Beijing has long allowed a small number of minor parties, but they have no
power and play a minor supportive
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