Free China Movement Ralies in Washington

Washington, Dec. 16 (CNA) A coalition of over 30 Chinese dissident organizations on Wednesday called on Beijing authorities to release all dissidents and urged governments to condemn the regime's recent crackdown on dissidents.

The Free China Movement, which represents dissidents both in and outside the mainland, also urged the US Congress to pass a resolution condemning the Chinese government and called for the termination of mainland China's most-favored-nation trading status until Beijing abides by international human rights obligations.

Lian Shengde, executive director of the Washington-based Free China Movement, said in a news conference, "It would be a tragic mistake for the Clinton administration and the European Union to believe that China has improved its human rights record and legal system."

"This is an absolute myth. The recent crackdown on the Chinese Democratic Party members and the trial of Lin Hai shows that the PRC is still a brutal communist dictatorship that only holds power through the barrel of a gun. The only realistic way to pressure the Chinese government to abide by international human rights treaties is through economic sanctions," Lian added.

Lin Hai, a Shanghai software engineer, was arrested last March for sending 30,000 mainland Chinese e-mail addresses to VIP Reference, an on-line magazine published by the Free China Movement.

"The Free China Movement strongly condemns the Chinese government's recent wave of arrests of political opposition leaders, and calls on Congress to speak out on behalf of those dissidents who are asserting their legal rights of free speech and assembly in China," movement lawyer Ye Ning said.

Ye recently won a lawsuit preventing Adidas, a sports equipment manufacturer, from using a mainland Chinese prison labor camp to make soccer balls. (By Nelson Chung)