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Document 18 of 22.

Copyright 1998 Kyodo News Service  
Japan Economic Newswire

JUNE 5, 1998, FRIDAY

LENGTH: 400 words

HEADLINE: Exiled Chinese dissidents form new coalition



A large group of exiled Chinese political prisoners and dissidents gathered in Washington on Thursday, the ninth anniversary of the military crackdown at Beijing's Tiananmen Square, to announce a new coalition for democracy and human rights in China.

More than 100 exiled Chinese traveled from all over the United States and from abroad to participate in a meeting where they declared the formation of the new coalition, called the 'Free China Movement.'

Representatives of the new coalition said they want U.S. President Bill Clinton to meet them before making a state visit to China later this month, and some want to accompany him to Tiananmen Square to lay a wreath there as a memorial to those killed in the 1989 pro-democracy demonstration.

'This new coalition seeks to invite and gather together all those committed to the cause of political freedom and democracy in China so we may build a movement for real change,' said Shengde Lian, chairman of the Free China Forum, a principal group organizing the meeting, said.

Shengde Lian, who was among the Tiananmen Square leaders and was sentenced to two years in prison, said, 'We Chinese people deserve democracy and deserve freedom. We believe we can make this if we work together.'

He read out a message from Wang Dan, a recently released Chinese dissident who is a symbol of the 1989 pro-democracy student movement.

In the message, Wang, who was freed in April on medical parole and exiled to the United States, urged the Chinese government to release many other political prisoners.

'Today, there are thousands of...prisoners of conscience. They are still in jail even if I and several others were released,' Wang was quoted as saying.

Ye Ning, a lawyer for the Free China Forum, said he wants Clinton to urge Chinese leaders to 'stop stabilizing the dictatorship, stop legitimizing the dictatorship and stop subsidizing the dictatorship.'

Ye said he was tortured more than 200 times by Chinese authorities from age 14.

Clinton will leave June 24 for China and return home July 3.

He is expected to appear in Tiananmen Square for a welcoming ceremony during his four-day state visit to the Chinese capital from June 26.

But domestic critics, especially Republicans, have urged Clinton, who will be the first U.S. president to visit China since the Tiananmen Square crackdown, to stay away from Tiananmen.


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