4101 Davenport St., NW

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(FCM calls on World Community to Protest against the PRC's attempt to blackmail pro democracy leaders)


Washington, D.C.

Ms. Sharong Lian, sister of well-known dissident leader of the Free China Movement Lian Shengde, was arrested on Dec 19th at Shuangliu International airport moments before she was to board a plane to Hong Kong.

Mr. Lian's sister was attempting to travel to the United States for a year in order to help Mr. Lian's wife recover from a serious illness. After obtaining a passport from a travel agency by changing the writing of her Chinese
character name, but by keeping the same Romantic spelling on the passport, she was detained for 24 hours before being permitted to contact her parents. Ms. Lian has been held in Yi Guanmiao jail since then.

Chinese authorities seized all of Ms. Lian's personal belongings, including over a $1000 in cash and an address book. Chinese police deny confiscating the money.

According to Mr. Lian, the Chinese government has been employing a duel strategy to silence overseas dissidents in recent years. In a few of the most famous cases, including Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan, the government used them as bargaining chips in bilateral relations with the US government. For instance, their family members were allowed to leave China without incident. But in the cases of less well-known dissident leaders who are still actively and effectively opposing the Chinese regime, the government has employed decidedly harsher tactics, including intimidation of family members and the denial of passports for travel.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government refused to grant Mr. Lian's parents their passport applications so that they could visit their newborn grandson in America. While arguing with Public Security Bureau officials in Beijing
about the passport application denial, Mr. Lian's father was threatened with jail.

"The Free China Movement-- as should the world-- condemns in no uncertain terms the Chinese government's arrest and detention of Ms. Sharong Lian," declared Timothy Cooper, international director of the Free China Movement.
"By its actions, Beijing sends a strong and troubling signal to the entire international community. It confirms, once again, that it intends to travel down the  road of human rights oppression, rather than go the path less well traveled toward freedom for its own people," concluded Cooper.

"Beijing hopes to weave a web of distrust and discontent  among the overseas dissident leaders by employing a disturbing strategy of using a few famous dissident leaders as bargaining chips in bilateral negotiations, while
treating harshly family members of less well known dissident leaders, thereby hoping to sow division in the overseas community. Their tactics will never succeed," stated Richard Long, leader of Free China Movement and Chinese VIP Reference.

"China's strategy of repression becomes more ruthless every day," stated Shengde Lian, executive director of the Free China Movement and publisher of Chinese VIP Reference. "Though I feel my sister's pain, and sympathize with
her plight, I will not rest until the people of China have been freed of such a government. I therefore call for the immediate release of Sharong Lian, and for the world community to lodge the strongest possible diplomatic protests against the Chinese government. Will this wave of oppression never end?" asked Mr. Lian.

Mr. Shengde Lian was the Chair of Autonomous Federation of Universities from outside Beijing in Tian An Men Square in 1989. He was arrested immediately after the June 4th massacre and spent about two years in Qing Chen Prison in the northern Suburb of Beijing. He was released in January 1991 due to strong international pressure. Purchasing a Tibetan passport, Mr. Lian escaped to the United States in 1994. A documentary about Mr. Lian's life entitled "Freedom Fighter" was released last month and will be shown at the Open Forum by State Department on February 14, 2001. He has been selected the executive director of the Free China Movement since 1998.

Mr. Lian's passport was also confiscated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC when he tried to renew it in June 2000. For more information, please contact Shengde Lian at: (703) 864-9304.