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Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times

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July 12, 1998, Sunday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Page 3; Column 1; Foreign Desk 

LENGTH: 513 words

HEADLINE: China Detains 9 Dissidents Who Sought to Form a Party



   Nine Chinese dissidents who tried to set up an opposition party during President Clinton's state visit have been arrested, human rights advocates said today. They said the crackdown demonstrates that Mr. Clinton's trip made little impact on China's political system.

The police began the wave of detentions on Friday morning, taking Wu Gaoxing from his home in Tai zhou in eastern Zhejiang Province, dissident groups in Hong Kong and the United States said.

Late Friday, about 150 miles to the northwest in the city of Hangzhou, the police went to the home of Wang Youcai and led away Mr. Wang, Wang Peijian and Cheng Fan, as well as three others -- all members of the China Democracy Party, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement. In separate raids on their homes in Hangzhou, the police took away Zhu Yufu and Wang Donghai.

The police confiscated notebooks, tapes, at least one computer and literature for the China Democracy Party, according to the center and United States-based dissidents.

Wang Youcai, Wang Peijian and one other dissident announced on June 25, the day Mr. Clinton arrived in China for his nine-day China tour, that they wanted to form the China Democracy Party.

Since then Wang Youcai, Mr. Zhu and another dissident had been detained at least once before Friday's clampdown. They were released with warnings, and the authorities have refused to register the group.

The exiled groups described Mr. Clinton's China policy as a failure. Mr. Clinton used his trip to try to show a more tolerant China to Americans while appealing to Chinese leaders to allow more dissent.

The detentions "prove Clinton returned home from his China tour empty-handed," the Information Center said in a statement.

Lian Shengde, head of the Washington-based Free China Movement, said, "What we said about President Clinton's policy of constructive engagement with China was accurate, that the Chinese Government will not work with the free world to improve human rights because they are a brutal Communist dictatorship."

U.S. Vows More Effort

WASHINGTON, July 11 (By The New York Times) -- A White House spokesman said today that the Clinton Administration would continue to press China's leaders to allow the peaceful expression of views by its citizens.

"As the President said while he was in China, the key to China's future development is to open up its society to greater political expression," the spokesman, P. J. Crowley, said after learning of the detention of nine Chinese dissidents.

Mr. Crowley dismissed criticism by some exiled dissidents that the action demonstrated the President's failure to secure meaningful progress on human rights during his visit to China.

"There are clearly elements within Chinese society who want to resort to the past practices of repression," he said. "But the President spoke very forcefully and very eloquently that China, in order to reach its full potential, will have to allow greater freedom for its people."


LOAD-DATE: July 12, 1998

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