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Women Conferees Accuse Chinese of Harassment, Surveillance

September 2, 1995

HUAIROU, China (AP) _ Organizers of the international conference on women’s issues met with Chinese authorities today to protest harassment and the seizure of materials.

The organizers said they have collected a list of complaints, most of them concerning human rights groups which have run afoul of Chinese authorities in trying to promote their causes at the NGO Forum on Women, which began Tuesday.

In a statement before the meeting, they cited reports of ``surveillance, threats to security, harassment and confiscation of video tapes,″ as well as ``lack of access for disabled participants.″

They said they wanted ``to make their concerns formally known and demand action.″

The forum, attended by about 19,000 representatives of non-governmental organizations, is in tandem with the U.N.-sponsored Fourth World Conference on Women opening Monday in Beijing.

While the meeting between the forum organizers and Chinese officials was underway, a workshop on women living under foreign occupation, which was organized by exiled Tibetans, was disrupted.

A Chinese woman started describing Tibet’s economic and social progress under Chinese rule. When the exiles tried to respond, the Chinese started shouting and clapping.

The exiled Tibetans left the workshop.

``When we started talking they started screaming,″ said Dorji Dolma, who was born in Tibet, fled in 1959 and now lives in Australia. ``They were trying to take over the workshop. But that was our workshop.″

China refused to allow exiled Tibetan NGOs to be accredited to the women’s conference. The few Tibetans who obtained visas as members of other groups say Chinese security officers have videotaped them constantly.

Meanwhile, the forum’s free daily newspaper reappeared today after skipping its Friday edition because of what Chinese authorities said were problems at the printer.

However, Forum ’95 appeared without its four-page supplement, Terra Viva, which carried an article criticizing China’s one-child-per-family policy of curbing population growth.

Birgit Wiig, co-editor of the English-language paper, said the Chinese refused to let Forum ’95 include the supplement on grounds it was a separate paper and was unlicensed.

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