Related topics

Police Clamp Down in Beijing for Christopher Trip With AM-Christopher-China, Bjt;

March 13, 1994

Police Clamp Down in Beijing for Christopher Trip With AM-Christopher-China, Bjt; AM-China-Human Rights

BEIJING (AP) _ As Secretary of State Warren Christopher discussed human rights with Chinese leaders, police rounded up more dissidents Saturday in what one called ″a silent warning.″

The U.S. Embassy and activists’ homes were surrounded by police in an attempt to keep dissidents quiet during Christopher’s visit.

At least 17 dissidents have been picked up by police over the past two weeks, and some remain in custody. Four foreign reporters who met with dissidents were detained for up to six hours.

In Shanghai, dissident Yang Zhou was held for two nights by police and released Sunday morning.

Yang said about 10 police came to his home and took him and a friend to the local police station. The friend was released after six hours.

″They are afraid I will have contacts″ with other people, Yang said. ″This is a silent warning.″

In Beijing, activist Xin Hong was released Sunday afternoon but was told she would have to report all her activities to the police.

Xin was whisked from her home by about eight policemen Saturday evening after she wrote a letter to the national legislature supporting direct elections and human rights, sources said.

Xin spoke with several foreign reporters in recent days, including a Dutch reporter taken from her home Saturday afternoon and questioned by police for five hours.

Xu Liangying, a noted scientist who had issued a human rights appeal timed for Christopher’s visit, said two policemen were stationed outside his apartment for a second day Sunday.

″It’s as if I’ve been put under house arrest. This is a joke,″ Xu said.

Xu said the authorities apparently feared he would try to meet with Christopher. There had never been plans for such a meeting, he said, but he now wishes he could.

Xu said his relatives were told not to attempt to visit him before Wednesday. Christopher leaves Monday.

The U.S. Embassy, which has had heavy security since Christopher’s arrival Friday night, was surrounded by police again Sunday.

Christopher met Sunday morning with Jiang Zemin, president and Communist Party general secretary.

Police also staked out the homes of the families of jailed dissidents and cut their telephone lines to keep them from contacting Christopher’s entourage.

China’s government routinely detains dissidents during politically sensitive times, such as the annual legislative session that began Thursday and visits by important foreign leaders.

Christopher has said he has no plans to meet with dissidents during his weekend trip, during which he is telling Chinese leaders they must make progress on human rights or lose low-tariff trade benefits with the United States.

Friends of labor activist Liu Nianchun, who recently applied for registration of an unofficial union, and another labor activist, Wang Zhongqiu, said Saturday they were missing and feared detained.

Other important dissidents have left Beijing in recent days and do not appear likely to return during Christopher’s visit.

They include China’s most famous dissident, Wei Jingsheng, and Wang Dan, who topped the police most-wanted list of student leaders from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.

The dissidents said they went voluntarily, but appear to have been urged to leave by police eager to prevent them from meeting Christopher. Sources said police were stationed outside Wei’s office and Wang’s home Saturday.

Two American journalists for United Press International and Newsweek who visited Liu’s home late Friday were detained for six hours by police. A Taiwanese reporter was detained for more than three hours Thursday for visiting dissidents.

Update hourly