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Document 13 of 39.

Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse  
Agence France Presse

July 12, 1998 05:54 GMT

SECTION: International news

LENGTH: 620 words

HEADLINE: Future grim for dissidents seeking to set up Chinese opposition

DATELINE: (ADDS reaction, analysis)

    By Lorien Holland

BEIJING, July 12 (AFP) - Chinese dissidents reacted angrily Sunday to the prolonged detention of five pro-democracy activists who attempted to set up a political opposition party during the visit of US President Bill Clinton.

"The Chinese government has demonstrated to the world that they have no credibility to undertake international human rights covenants because they have no intention to improve human rights in China," the Free China Movement said in a statement signed by 142 dissidents from inside and outside the country.

"We sternly condemn the Clinton administration's unprecedented betrayal of freedom (by praising improving human rights in China during Clinton's visit here)," it said.

Xian-based dissidents Lin Mu and Yang Hai, who were detained during Clinton's visit to the central Chinese city last month, also made a call for the immediate and unconditional release of the five.

On Saturday, police in the eastern province of Zhejiang rounded up nine dissidents who were connected to the fledgling Chinese Democracy Party (CDP).

While four were released the same day, five remain in detention and their future looks increasingly bleak.

"The families of Wang Youcai, Wang Donghai and Zhu Yufu have already been informed by the police to bring clothes and daily necessities to the detention centre," said Lu Siqing, spokesman of the Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human rights and Democratic Movement in China.

"This means that at the very least they will be detained for a long time, and the situation does not look good," he added.

The activists applied to set up their Chinese Democracy Party just hours before the arrival of US President Bill Clinton's in China at the end of June.

Their application was the first since the Communist Party took power in 1949, and came despite almost zero tolerance from the government towards open dissent.

A police attempt to silence Wang Youcai and Zhu Yufu by detaining them in late June failed after US and international protests resulted in their release within hours.

"This time round, the police are more determined," said a dissident source in Zhejiang who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Last week there were lots of threats that they would be charged with conspiring to overthrow the government and during my detention the police kept accusing us of setting up an illegal organisation," he added.

The four dissidents who were released Saturday were Wu Gaoxing, Fang Xiaofeng, Wang Peijian and Wang Qiang.

In addition to the continuing detention of Wang Youcai, Wang Donghai and Zhu Yufu, two other dissidents -- Zhu Zhengming and Cheng Fan -- also remain behind bars.

A tenth activist, Lin Hui, is on the run from police.

"The Chinese authorities detained our CDP leaders on the charge of conspiring to overthrow the government. The charge is libellous and a distortion of the facts," the fledgling party said in a statement released from the United States.

"The CDP is not a party seeking the overthrow of the government through a consiracy. The CDP is a political party which calls for fair political competition with the Chinese Communist Party and these rights have been specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," it added.

Although President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji say they would like to move towards democratic elections, they insist China will not be ready for such a move for at least 50 years.

"We believe that the Chinese communist dictators are unable to eradicate the CDP and its spirit. We also believe that the advancement of the Chinese pro-democracy movement, no matter how difficult it is, will not be stopped," the CDP said.



LOAD-DATE: July 12, 1998

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