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Report: Chinese Dissident Sentenced

August 11, 1999

BEIJING (AP) _ A Chinese poet who founded a ``Literary Renaissance Party″ has been sentenced to seven years in jail on rape charges, a dissident exile group reported today.

Yu Xinjiao was arrested in early June in Beijing, the Chinese Democracy and Justice Party said in a statement. The group charged that authorities fabricated accusations against Yu.

Little is known about Yu, a native of Hangzhou city in eastern Zhejiang province. He was an associate of fellow Hangzhou dissident Wang Youcai, an organizer of the banned opposition group China Democracy Party, who was sentenced last December to 11 years in prison on subversion charges.

Yu faced police harassment and surveillance since he secretly founded his literary association in 1997, the statement said.

It included a declaration by Yu saying that his party stood for ``freedom of thought, freedom of action and freedom of expression.″

Although the ruling Communist Party has loosened its control over many aspects of life, including artistic and cultural expression, it has sought to crush groups critical of China’s restrictions on speech and other freedoms. Opposition political parties are outlawed.

Repression of dissent has intensified in the months leading up to the 50th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1, with scores of members of the China Democracy Party and other activists arrested. Some have been sentenced to jail terms as long as 13 years.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Democracy and Justice Party released a statement signed by prominent exiled dissidents Wang Xizhe and Wang Min expressing their opposition to the possibility of a military conflict between China and Taiwan.

The appeal comes amid rising tensions between the two sides, governed separately since the end of the civil war in 1949, that have raised fears of a possible military conflict.

``All compatriots arise to oppose war! China can only be reunited peacefully and democratically. Chinese must not fight Chinese!″ the statement said.

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