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The Associated Press
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September 11, 1998, Friday, AM cycle
SECTION: International News
LENGTH: 237 words
HEADLINE: Democracy activists try to register opposition party in
Democracy activists trying to register what would be
China's first opposition party in almost half a century of communist rule said Friday
that officials might approve their historic application.
Activists Xie Wanjun and Liu Lianjun were encouraged when Shandong province
officials did not summarily dismiss their attempt and
said they would grant the application if it met all national laws, dissident
One official showed the dissidents a government memo saying the application was
being considered, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and
Democratic Movement in China said.
"We cautiously appreciate the positive gesture made by the Chinese government
towards the long expected relaxation of the
taboo on free association," the Washington-based
Free China Movement Network said in a statement.
Dissidents have been trying to register the China Democracy Party since
President Clinton visited China in June. Police in eastern Zhejiang province in
July arrested, and
later released, 12 democracy campaigners connected with the group.
In their initial application, the Shandong activists said the China Democracy
Party did not intend to challenge the Communist Party.
Beijing has long allowed a few small parties that support government policy,
but the ruling Communist Party has
not permitted an independent opposition party since coming to power 49 years
LOAD-DATE: September 11, 1998
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