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Document 37 of 39.

Copyright 1998 Central News Agency  
Central News Agency

June 5, 1998, Friday

LENGTH: 593 words


BYLINE: By Nelson Chung and Flor Wang

DATELINE: Washington, June 4

   Washington D. C. Mayor Marion Barry on Thursday declared June 4th "Freedom and Democracy in China Day" to commemorate the deaths of thousands of protesters killed in a bloody military crack down in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Announcing the declaration at a news conference, Barry said Washington D. C. supports all those who have fought for democracy, as freedom belongs to every citizen around the world.

Meanwhile, more than 100 mainland Chinese dissidents based in the United States launched a three-day seminar here on Thursday to mark the ninth anniversary of the June 4 incident.

Lian Shengde, co-founder of the Free China Forum which sponsored the symposium, called the gathering a historical "meeting of union" among all mainland Chinese dissidents living in exile abroad.

With assistance from US congressmen, academics, human rights and religious groups, as well as former government officials, Lian said they are planning to set up a "Free China Movement" in an effort to gain support from the US government for pro-democracy activists and political reformists in the mainland.

The US government should revoke the most favored nation trading status and impose trade sanctions on mainland China until Beijing agrees to respect human rights, end the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and resolve international disputes through peaceful means, Lian claimed.

Wang Dan, a former pro-democracy student leader and prominent dissident who was recently released by Beijing on medical parole to the United States, sent a congratulatory message to Lian to show his support for a free China.

Ye Ning, a lawyer from mainland China who has reportedly suffered over 200 incidents of torture by communist authorities since he was 14 years old, called the regime in Beijing the biggest threat to world peace as it is responsible for the slaughter of over 60 million people.

The "strategical partnership" engagement policy adopted by the US government to deal with mainland China will impede the democratization process in the mainland, Ye said. He called on Washington to suspend any move which would help Chinese communists foster.

Zhou Yungjun, one of the leaders in the 1989 student-led protests, urged American people to back democracy movements in the mainland and assist them in their efforts to bring about changes there.

On the eve of the June 4 anniversary, New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani declared Thursday as "New York Backs Democracy in China Day" to commemorate those killed or persecuted for seeking democracy and freedom.

Giuliani said in a public statement that New York City admires all those who sacrificed their lives in a struggle for democracy, especially those in mainland China. The efforts pro-democracy advocates have awakened the American people, he said, allowing them to understand that millions of people still live under a repressive regime.

Giuliani has always been a staunch supporter of democracy in mainland China and often publicly criticizes Beijing for its autocratic rule.

The mayor refused to meet mainland Chinese President Jiang Zemin last November while Jiang was visiting New York. But he received Wei Jiangsheng, the most prominent mainland Chinese dissident who was set free by Beijing on medical parole to the United States, shortly after that.

More than 300 overseas Chinese and democracy activists from mainland China, including Wang Dan, also took part in a protest outside Beijing's consulate here on Thursday to mark the June 4 massacre.


LOAD-DATE: June 6, 1998

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