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Shengde Lian                              Wang Xizhe

(703)645-9054 (703)329-6836 (617)6662046(Chinese)

Washington Office of
Free China Movement
PO. Box 3328, Falls Church, VA 22043, 703 645-9054, Fax 703 645-9051 English; 703 329-6836, fax 703 329-0149

Press Release

56 Chinese Dissidents Inside China Sign Open Letter To President Clinton Requesting Meeting In Beijing; First Organized "Open" Dissident Opposition Activity Since Tian An Men Square

June 20, 1998- Washington DC; 56 Chinese dissidents inside China have signed an open letter to President Clinton urging him to meet with their representative, Mr. Xu Wenli, in Beijing. Most of the 56 Chinese dissidents are former political and religious prisoners of conscience in China. They have requested a meeting with President Clinton during his historical trip to China. The dissidents want to tell President Clinton that the Chinese government continues to violate international human rights agreements, and has thousands of political and religious prisoners who remain in jail. A press conference with Free China Movement representatives and members of Congress, and rallies urging President Clinton to meet with the dissidents in China are being planned before and after his trip to China. A protest in front of Chinese Embassy on June 23 starting at 11:00 am will be held by about 12 or more representatives from 10 organizations of Free China Movement network. A hunger strike in front of the White House is being planned from June 23 to June 24.

The signed letter to President Clinton by the 56 dissidents is the first open and organized large scale Free China Movement activity since the bloody crack down of the peaceful Tian An Men Square democracy movement nine years ago. Shengde Lian, executive director of the "Free China Movement," the newly formed international coalition of Chinese dissident groups who live inside and outside of China said, "We are in close contact with Mr. Xu Wenli and the dissident group in China and are helping to arrange the meeting with President Clinton. This is truly a historical event, these brave dissidents are risking their lives, their freedom, and their careers in order to promote democracy, human rights, and freedom in China."

He further commented, "President Clinton as the leader of the free world has the moral obligation to meet with the dissidents inside and outside China, and show the Chinese people and the international community that he is dedicated to the principles of democracy, justice, freedom and peace. Thus far, President Clinton has not yet clearly demonstrated that he places human rights and democracy over the profits of fortune 500 companies and American businessmen who do business with a brutal communist totalitarian dictatorship that imprisons ministers, tortures political prisoners, and continues to crack down on peaceful dissent all throughout China," he said.

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