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Document 15 of 39.

Copyright 1998 Agence France Presse  
Agence France Presse

July 11, 1998 02:58 GMT

SECTION: International news

LENGTH: 390 words

HEADLINE: China arrests opposition party members in Zhejiang province

DATELINE: (ADDS dissident reax, detail)


BEIJING, July 11 (AFP) - China has arrested several activists in the eastern province of Zhejiang including members of an opposition party set up during US President Bill Clinton's recent state visit, dissident sources said on Saturday.

The families of Wang Donghai and Zhu Yufu told AFP that the two men had been taken by public security officials from their homes for questioning on Thursday evening, but no reason was given for the arrests.

On the same night, police raided the home of Wang Youcai and arrested him, along with Wang Peijian, Cheng Fan, Zhu Zhengming and a man and a woman whose names were unknown, the New York-based Chinese Democratic Justice Party said in a statement.

Another dissident, Wu Gaoxin, was also taken away by police, who confiscated papers and computers from several of the dissidents' homes, it said.

Wang Donghai, Wang Youcai and Lin Hui applied last month to set up a branch of their underground party, the Chinese Democracy Party (eds: correct), legally.

Their application, the first to set up an opposition party since the communists came to power in 1949, coincided with the visit to China by Clinton at the end of June.

Of those arrested, Wang Donghai, Wang Youcai, Wu Gaoxin, Wang Peijian and Cheng Fan remain in custody, the sources said.

"As soon as the guest leaves, the tea gets cold," the Chinese Democratic Justice Party Statement said, adding that the authorities had left the dissidents alone for the duration of the Clinton visit.

Overseas Chinese dissident groups condemned Clinton's policy of engaging with Beijing on human rights following news of the detentions.

"What we said about President Clinton's policy of constructive engagement with China was accurate, that the Chinese government will not work with the free world to improve human rights, because they are a brutal communist dictatorship who no respect for freedom, democracy or human life," Lian Shengde, executive director of the New York-based Free China Movement, said in a statement.

Although both 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.

The government does not tolerate dissent and regularly imprisons those who voice their opposition.



LOAD-DATE: July 10, 1998

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