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Dissidents Seek Human Rights Talks

June 9, 1998

BEIJING (AP) _ Twenty-three Chinese dissidents sent an open letter today to President Clinton and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, urging them to make human rights an important topic at the upcoming U.S.-China summit.

The democracy activists maintain that China’s ruling Communist Party ignores human rights, citing cases of dissidents around the country who recently have been detained or sent to labor camps without trial.

``Only when the rights of all people are respected and the dignity of all people is protected can a country have booming development and the whole world have peace and prosperity,″ the letter said.

The dissidents called on the two leaders, who will meet in Beijing in late June, to discuss ways China can implement basic rights called for in two U.N. treaties.

China signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but has not yet ratified it. It has announced plans to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The activists also are asking the leaders to discuss efforts by Xu Wenli and Qin Yongmin to establish a human rights monitoring group in China. Authorities have confiscated office equipment and have refused to allow the group to register as a legal entity, the letter said.

It added that police are preventing Xu from leaving his home.

Xu and Qin, longtime activists, were among the 23 dissidents who signed the letter.

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