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Document 22 of 22.

The Associated Press

The materials in the AP file were compiled by The Associated Press. These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press.

June 28, 1997, Saturday, AM cycle

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 413 words

HEADLINE: Celebrants, anti-communists face off in Washington With Hong Kong Roundup


    The coming handover of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of China was celebrated here Saturday by a long paper dragon, huge red PRC flags and marchers vastly outnumbering protestors who chanted "Free China ... Free Hong Kong ... Down with the Communist Party!"

A half-mile parade of nearly 3,000 Chinese, Chinese Americans and their friends crossed the National Mall to a festival by restaurants and other Chinatown businesses marking the expiration at Monday midnight of Britain's 155-year rule over Hong Kong.

It produced perhaps the largest mass of starred, red Chinese flags seen in the U.S. capital. Confrontation with barely a dozen anti-communist activists was limited to chants, much picture-taking and some taunts and passing of leaflets and anti-Beijing petitions.

The demonstrators organized by the U.S.-based Party for Freedom and Democracy in China wore black armbands. They displayed a painting of a student confronting a tank at Beijing's 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and signs asking "What is there to celebrate? Since Oct. 1, 1949, over 36,950,000 Chinese people have died from persecution."

"This is not a celebration of a communist takeover, it is a celebration of the end of unequal treaties," said martial arts master Tai Yim, who operates Kung Fu centers in Washington's suburbs.

About 60 of his students - mostly non-Chinese - took turns manning the twisting, 30-foot dragon in the parade and a pair of equally ferocious imitation lions.

Yim was referring to 19th Century treaties ending the Opium Wars and making Hong Kong a British colony that expire Monday under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Parade sponsors also emphasized the historical. Without mentioning communism, their announcement recalled the American Revolution against British colonialism and commented that "China has survived and progressed ... although we would like to see more advancement in democracy and government of law."

Lian Shengde, a spokesman of the protestors, said the cost of free box lunches, canned beverages and Hong Kong-China T-shirts distributed to the celebrants plus the masses of red flags pointed to Chinese official support.

However, organizing committee spokesman Xie Shiqing, a University of Maryland student, said the affair was financed by local businesses and fund-raising by Chinese student associations in the Eastern United States. He estimated that 90 percent of all Chinese people welcome Hong Kong's return to China.


LOAD-DATE: June 28, 1997

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