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Document 24 of 39.


Copyright 1998 Associated Press  
AP Online

July 02, 1998; Thursday 15:22 Eastern Time

SECTION: International news

LENGTH: 512 words

HEADLINE: Dissidents: Clinton Trip a Failure

BYLINE: DONNA ABU-NASR


DATELINE: WASHINGTON

BODY:
    President Clinton was naive with his Chinese communist hosts and his stepping on a red carpet in Tiananmen Square was like stepping on the blood of the victims who fell in 1989, Chinese dissidents said Thursday.

''We think President Clinton's trip ... is really a kind of disappointment'' said Shengde Lian, a leader of the 1989 democracy demonstrations on Tiananmen Square. ''His words don't help the Chinese in any way.''

As Clinton winds down his nine-day tour of China, leaders of dissident organizations in Washington are expressing dismay about the president's trip despite his open exchanges on human rights with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and students at Peking University.

The leaders claim the president was not forceful enough with Zemin and other officials about human rights and religious freedoms and should have pressured the Chinese leaders to introduce laws that protect those rights.

Indeed, some leaders, like Ye Ning, a human rights activist tortured by the Chinese government for his pro-democracy activities, said Clinton's visit has hurt democracy movements in China.

''Clinton has given the image to the world, especially to the Chinese people ... and opposition forces that the government of the United States strongly and unconditionally supports the Chinese mainstream communist leaders,'' said Ye. ''That kind of message is very harmful to any potential of Chinese change and the (opposition).''

Bao Ge, a founding member of the Voice of Human Rights jailed for his activities, said even though Clinton talked to Zemin about human rights, he did not achieve any substantial improvements.

''He didn't exert any pressure on Zemin,'' said Bao. ''If Jiang doesn't do (anything), what will Clinton do next?''

Lian, jailed for two years for his Tiananmen Square activities, said progress on human rights should be measured by what takes place on the ground, such as the arrests of dissidents during Clinton's tour, and not the ''public shows'' the Chinese government put on.

Clinton was ''pretty naive,'' Lian said, contending most questions posed by the Peking University students had been prepared by the authorities, and one of the queries pushed Clinton into criticizing the human rights situation in the United States.

Lian said Clinton should have met with the relatives of the victims of Tiananmen Square and opposition leaders.

''In Tiananmen Square, he really did not make any gestures about the democratic movement in China,'' said Lian. ''He also stepped on the red carpet which made me and many other Chinese people feel that he's stepping on the blood of the (victims) of the communist regime.''

Joel Segal, American director of the Free China Movement, a coalition of more than 30 Chinese dissident organizations, said if China fails to improve its human rights record, there must be ''strong, negative repercussions'' by Congress, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

''Otherwise, we'll all be cooperating with evil and when you cooperate with evil, you are evil,'' said Segal.



LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

LOAD-DATE: July 02, 1998



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