Chinese Dissident Arrested Trying to Register Democracy Party

06/30(ȭ) 14:47

BEIJING (AP) _ Chinese police detained a democracy campaigner who tried to set up an opposition political party Monday in the latest dissident roundup during U.S. President Bill Clinton's China visit.

Plainclothes police showed up at Wang Youcai's home in eastern Hangzhou city at around 1 p.m. and then three hours later took him away, exiled dissident groups in the United States and Hong Kong said.

Having been turned away by officials Friday, Wang planned to try again Monday afternoon 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 Free China Movement, based in Washington, said.

Wang, student leader of the massive democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, was at least the sixth dissident taken into custody since Wednesday, the eve of Clinton's arrival.

The detention came as Clinton left Beijing for Shanghai, China's financial center. Clinton took up the previous arrests with President Jiang Zemin at their summit Saturday, but Jiang afterward defended the police action as important for security.

During his five days in China, Clinton has emphasized the need for the government to allow more freedoms. Addressing students and faculty at Peking University on Monday, Clinton called a freer society necessary to maintaining economic prosperity in the future.

Clinton, however, has refused appeals by Chinese democracy and human rights campaigners to show support for change by meeting with a dissident.

In the latest such appeal, a group of 125 Chinese dissidents called on Clinton to meet former Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted by party elders for resisting the military crackdown on the Tiananmen protesters.

Zhao has lived under a loose form of 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, dated Sunday and released Monday, 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.

Wang Youcai spent 2 1/2 years in prison for helping lead the 1989 protests and has had repeated run-ins with police ever since.

Four of the six dissidents detained by police in the past six days were arrested in Xi'an, Clinton's first stop, and released after the president left.

Authorities in Guilin, however, have told the family of democracy campaigner Li Xiaolong that he will not be freed until sometime after Clinton tours the scenic southern city Thursday.



(C) COPYRIGHT 1998 THE HANKOOKILBO