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The Associated Press

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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.

July 3, 1998, Friday, PM cycle

SECTION: Washington Dateline

LENGTH: 459 words

HEADLINE: U.S.-based Chinese dissidents say Clinton's trip is a failure

BYLINE: By DONNA ABU-NASR, Associated Press Writer


    President Clinton's trip to China was a disappointment because it has not done much to improve human rights in that country and has harmed Chinese pro-democracy movements, Chinese dissidents say.

The dissidents also criticized Clinton's visit to Tiananmen Square, site of the 1989 bloody democracy demonstrations, saying he did not make any gestures there to the democratic movements in China and did not meet with the relatives of the victims.

In the square, Clinton "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," said Shengde Lian, a leader of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

The dissidents' remarks Thursday came as Clinton ended his nine-day tour of China. They contended the president was not forceful enough on human rights and religious freedom issues in meetings with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other Chinese officials.

Bao Ge, a founding member of the Voice of Human Rights who was jailed for his activities, called Clinton's open exchanges on human rights with Jiang and students at Peking University "very shallow" and said they 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?"

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)."

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. He contended 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.

"We think President Clinton's trip ... is really a kind of disappointment" said Lian. "His words don't help the Chinese in any way."

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.


LOAD-DATE: July 3, 1998

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