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China Snubs Tiananmen Resolutions

May 25, 1999

BEIJING (AP) _ China Tuesday dismissed U.S. congressional resolutions condemning Chinese human rights abuses and faced new accusations of detaining an activist who called for commemorations of the bloody Tiananmen Square democracy protests.

U.S. lawmakers who sponsored the resolutions aimed at marking the 10th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests are ``willfully distorting the human rights situation in China and making unwarranted remarks on China’s internal affairs,″ Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said at a news conference.

Chinese police have stepped up surveillance, arrests and harassment of dissidents during an annual crackdown as the June 4 anniversary approaches. Leaders are especially concerned that dissidents could use the occasion to join forces with disgruntled farmers and laid-off workers to challenge the government.

Activist Jiang Qisheng was taken from his house May 18, and police on Monday demanded his family turn over cash and clothing, the New York-based Human Rights in China said in a statement. That demand is a sign he may be sent away to a labor camp for up to three years without trial, as Chinese law allows, the group said.

Last month, Jiang and 15 other dissidents called on Chinese to mark June 4 by wearing plain clothing, lighting candles and foregoing entertainment. Jiang followed up with an open letter to the government last week protesting the alleged police beating of fellow activist Cao Jiahe.

As a graduate student, Jiang helped lead the mass demonstrations centered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, and he was imprisoned for a year following the military crackdown in which hundreds are thought to have died.

A small group of senior intellectuals who have called for reforms released an open letter to President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji Tuesday calling for Jiang Qisheng’s release and arguing that Chinese have the right to commemorate the Tiananmen protests.

Among the signers of the letter, dated Friday, was Xu Liangying, a scientist and author of pro-reform articles, and Ding Zilin and Jiang Peikun, professors whose 17-year-old son was killed in the military attack on the unarmed protesters.

The letter also was addressed to U.N. human rights commissioner Mary Robinson.

In the central industrial city Wuhan, police detained law students Liu Xiaoming and Li Qun for displaying a poster calling on the government to reverse its assessment of the Tiananmen protests as an anti-government rebellion, a Hong Kong-based human rights group reported Tuesday.

Police at Zhongnan Politics and Law Academy detained them immediately after they posted the appeal on campus on May 4, the 80th anniversary of another student protest movement, the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said in a news release. The two students were later turned over to city police.

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