Human Rights Chronology: China , Hong Kong, Tibet

January - March 1998


January 1, 1998 - New Beijing municipal law tightens control of publications
According to Beijing Municipality's new publications law, magazines, newspapers, and on-line publications may not "publish, print, reproduce or circulate" anything that compromises the security of the state or its reputation or interests. Nor may they comment adversely on minority traditions, promote superstition or insult people. By January 15, more than 45,000 books, including pirated books and those with "serious problems," had been destroyed.

January 9, 1998 - Wenzhou underground Bishop Lin in hiding
Bishop Lin Xili of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, managed to issue an "Open letter to the lay people of Wenzhou diocese" on January 9 from an undisclosed location. The serious crackdown in Wenzhou over the last few months and tight surveillance by public security officers led Bishop Lin to go into hiding. January 11, 1998 - Tianjin Customs confiscates "illegal" religious publications
"Reactionary" and "illegal" religious publications comprised 67,000 or two-thirds of all materials confiscated by Tianjin Customs in 1997.

January 11, 1998 - Reporters barred from reporting two disasters
Government officials prohibited the media from independent reporting of a blast at a nitrogen factory in Qingping city, Shaanxi province, on January 6, and Hong Kong and Macao reporters were specifically barred from the January 11 earthquake near Jiangjiakou, Hebei province. The explanation, that they would face danger and hinder relief efforts, hardly seems plausible when other reporters facing the same dangers were allowed on the scene. Some four months earlier, a Party Central Committee circular stated that "All news units should file natural disaster reports through strict examination and approval procedures."

January 1998 - Former Renmin Ribao editor-in-chief warned
Hu Jiwei, the eighty-three-year-old former editor-in-chief of Renmin Ribao, has been warned that he has violated Party discipline. Dismissed from his post for his support of the pro-democracy movement, Hu ran into trouble for a series of articles in late December 1997 criticizing the Party's autocratic stand and for voicing concern over the treatment of former Party secretary Zhao Ziyang.

January 16, 1998 - Supreme People's Court president announces Strike Hard as key link
Ren Jianxin, president of the Supreme People's Court, speaking on January 16, 1998 at the first full meeting of the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security, announced that "in comprehensively managing public security in 1998, we must make Strike Hard the key link..."

January 20, 1998 - Abduselim Kahar among executed Xinjiang separatists
On January 22, the official Xinjiang Daily reported the execution of eleven separatists, including Abduselim Kahar, for "breaking the laws of the country, threatening security and subversive propaganda." Additional charges listed in the newspaper included "cruel assassinations of local dignitaries and innocent people and setting fire to police vehicles." A court in the Ili district in western Xinjiang sentenced three others to suspended death sentences and twenty-seven to life in prison, all presumably in connection with the rioting in early February in the border town of Yining. (See July 22, 1997.)

January 20, 1998 - China invites UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced the decision to invite Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights for a "goodwill visit." Ms. Robinson has accepted the invitation but no date has been set and, according to the spokesperson, "the itinerary of her visit is still subject to further considerations."

January 21, 1998 - Activists warned to keep quiet
On January 21, two security officers searched the home of Lin Xinshu, a fifty-four-year-old medical worker in Fuzhou, Fujian province and took him in for five hours of questioning about his contacts with other dissidents. Before freeing him, they warned him to stay away from foreign journalists and cease his petitioning activities. In October 1997, Lin began a series of open letters to President Jiang Zemin and to the Party's Central Committee calling for worker rights, freedom for political dissidents, a free press, and an end to corruption. He warned of another Tiananmen. Lin also called for an amnesty over the New Year and for overturning the verdict on the 1989 pro-democracy movement; he even wrote to President Clinton urging him to urge Jiang to free former CCP Chief Zhao Ziyang. In 1993, Lin's dissident activities cost him his job. That same day, January 21, police in Hefei, Anhui province, delivered the same warning message to Ma Lianggang, and asked him to persuade other dissidents to keep quiet. (See October 15, 1997.) Police also called Shen Liangqing and asked him to come to the police station, but he refused on the grounds that he had neither a car or money for a taxi. (See October 20, 1997.)

January 21, 1998 - China attacks Radio Free Asia
In an editorial on January 21, the official China Daily accused the U.S. of using Radio Free Asia to "contain Asian countries' development and disrupt their stability" and of "fabricating" tales of "human rights abuses." The attack occurred four days after the U.S. Congress agreed to double RFA's budget and to start broadcasting in Cantonese and in Uighur, the language of many of Xinjiang's Muslims.

January 22, 1998 - Early release for dissident
Zhang Xiaoxu, sentenced to a fifteen-year term for counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement, was released from Shandong No.3 prison on January 22, more than six years before his sentence expired. After the 1989 crackdown in Beijing, the then twenty-nine-year-old Zhang, formerly an assistant engineer at the No.2 Telephone Substation of the Qingdao Bureau of Posts and Telecommunications, "twice delivered counterrevolution speeches before a crowd of several thousand people" openly advocating overthrow of the government.

January 23, 1998 - Dissident denied right to stand for election
Zhao Changqing, a twenty-eight-year-old factory worker, was detained in Hanzhong city (Shaanxi province) on January 23, 1998 after being under effective house arrest for ten days. His whereabouts are unknown. Zhao had tried to stand for election as a delegate from his factory No.813 Nuclear Industry General Company to the National People's Congress and had collected some sixty signatures even though only ten were required. But he ran afoul of a rule, instituted by factory management, that only Party members with a standing higher than that of the factory's deputy director could run. Zhao spent six months in jail after the 1989 pro-democracy movement.

January 25, 1998 - Priest released after two months in detention
Before releasing sixty-seven-year-old Father Wang Zhongfa, a priest of the unofficial church in Wenzhou diocese, Zhejiang province, on January 25, he was sentenced to a one-year reeducation through labor sentence and required to post a bond of 15,000 renminbi (approximately U.S.$1,800). During the time he was held, authorities took Father Wang on a two-week trip to Shanghai and persuaded him to join the official church. They then charged him 20,000 renminbi travel expenses. Father Wang was seized on November 23 during a midnight raid on a chapel where he had almost completed a funeral mass for an elderly nun. The mass had been scheduled for 11 p.m. to avoid surveillance, but ten public security officials scaled the compound wall to make the arrest. When local Catholics asked for Father Wang's release they were told he was a "political criminal." Father Wang is no stranger to prison. In 1995 he was convicted as a counterrevolutionary and sentenced to a twenty-two year term.

January 26-27, 1998 - Poets detained in Guizhou
Four poets preparing to launch a new publication, China Cultural Renaissance, were seized in Guiyang, the provincial capital of Guizhou, and had their homes raided on January 26-27. Of the four, Ma Zhe, Wu Ruohai, Xiong Jinren, and Ma Qiang, only the latter, whose real name is Xue Deyun, had ever been arrested for political activities. A member of the Guizhou-based Enlightenment Society, he had been jailed for three years for his part in student protests in Beijing on December 12, 1986. It has been reported that the new magazine was concerned with literary freedom and did have some articles critical of society.


February 1998 - Dissident still on crutches eighteen months later
Chen Longde, a leading human rights activist in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is still suffering from injuries reportedly sustained when he jumped from a prison window on August 17, 1996 to escape torture including repeated beatings and electric shocks from a senior prison official and other prisoners as punishment for his refusal to write a statement of guilt and self-criticism. He is still on crutches, and appeals for medical parole have been ignored. After sentencing to a three-year reeducation through labor term for signing "An Open Letter to the National People's Congress on the Seventh Anniversary of June 4" which called for the reevaluation of the 1989 pro-democracy movement and other reforms, Chen was sent to Luoshen Labor Camp where the accident occurred.

February 4, 1998 - Letters to Voice of America from sentenced "counterrevolutionary" never arrived
VOA reports that twenty-three "counterrevolutionary" letters for which a Chinese court sentenced Han Chunsheng on November 11, 1996 to an eight-year prison term, never reached VOA's post office box in Beijing. Letters received from other listeners had been opened and resealed before reaching the agency. VOA has closed the box and instructed its listeners to post their letters to a Hongkong address. According to the sentencing document, Han, a fifty-three-year-old chicken farmer who signed himself "8964" (June 4, 1989), allegedly "defamed" Chinese leaders and "instigated subversion of the people's democratic dictatorship."

February 4 1998 - China blocks Security Council briefing by Mary Robinson
After members of the U.N. Security Council suggested that Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights, brief the Security Council, China registered its opposition saying that Robinson's mandate was dependent on the General Assembly and not the Security Council.

February 5, 1998 - Prison guards abuse Li Hai
According to the mother of political prisoner Li Hai, prison guards at Liangxing prison near Beijing have beaten him with electric batons, refused to let him outside for eight months, and insisted he do fifteen hours of hard labor a day. In her February 5 appeal to Chinese officials, she also cited Li's twenty-five day period in solitary confinement for a minor violation of prison dress code regulations. Seven months after he was tried in camera on May 21, 1996, and one year and seven months after his arrest, Li was sentenced to a nine-year prison term for "prying into and gathering the following information about people sentenced for criminal activities during the June 4, 1989 period: name, age, family situation, crime, length of sentence, location of imprisonment, treatment while imprisoned." The verdict claimed that the collected data constituted state secrets; in China the definition of state secrets is highly flexible.

February 5, 1998 - No press to accompany religious delegation
A Chinese People's Institute for Foreign Affairs spokesperson confirmed on February 5 that press was banned from accompanying a religious delegation scheduled to leave for China on February 8. During the October summit meeting between President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin it was agreed that a delegation of clergy would be invited to look into the issue of religious freedom in China. The three, Rabbi Arthur Schneier of Park East Synagogue, Rev. Don Argue of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Catholic Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, will visit Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hong Kong and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

February 6, 1998 - Guangzhou labor activist arrested
On February 6, the day before Tan Li and fellow activist Li Wensheng planned to hold a worker rally in Guangzhou, police arrested Tan, a worker at the Guangzhou Ocean Shipping Group, searched his house, and confiscated an address book and drafts of articles. Li, a lawyer, was questioned for an hour and released. The pair had applied for a permit to hold the rally but instead of responding to their request, the police demanded a list of names of those planning to attend. Both men had been active in organizing a series of lectures in Guangzhou and they had made public the founding of a new independent union, the China Labor Alliance. Tan had also written an open letter to the National People's Congress advocating the establishment of independent unions because of the "weakness, laziness, and looseness" of official unions.

February 8, 1998 - Released prisoner Gao Feng reports no religious freedom in labor camp
Gao Feng, released on February 7 after completing a two-and-a-half year reeducation through labor sentence for political and religious dissident activities, reported that in Shuangehe Labor Camp in Heilongjiang province no religious freedom was permitted. His Bible was confiscated, he said, and prison authorities told him he was forbidden to believe in God. Gao was one of three prisoners whose terms reportedly were extended for "failure to reform" but it was reported in December that the Ministry of Justice had reversed the decisions. A Beijing Jeep worker, Gao had been arrested on August 5, 1995 in the run-up to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women. During a previous period of detention in mid-1994, his case drew international attention when Beijing Jeep, a Chrysler subsidiary, fired him.

February 9, 1998 - New York Times correspondent briefly detained
Erik Eckholm, the New York Times Beijing correspondent, an interpreter, and the wife of long-time dissident Xu Wenli were picked up outside a restaurant and taken to a police station in Beijing's Xuanxu district on February 9. Eckholm and Xu had planned to meet at the restaurant, but the appearance of two police officers at Xu's home just before he was to leave prevented him from keeping the appointment and he sent his wife to tell Eckholm not to wait. The officers took Xu to the same station where he was questioned for two hours. According to Xu, "The attitude of the police toward the correspondent was not at all friendly. In my opinion, perhaps they wanted to teach him a lesson soon after his arrival."

February 10, 1998 - Award winning film director in trouble for film festival submission
According to the official Xinmin Evening News, Zhang Yimou, the award winning director, was ordered to submit a written explanation of his decision to take the film Keep Cool to overseas festivals without petitioning for official approval.

February 10-15, 1998 - Leading house church leader held while U.S. religious delegation in China
On February 10, 1998, while a religious delegation from the U.S. visited top leaders in China, seven or eight police officers took Alan Yuan, a well-known house church leader in Beijing, and his wife from their son's house to the local police station. At the same time, police and religious bureau personnel surrounded the Yuan's own home and told all visitors and congregants that Mr. Yuan was ill and could have no visitors.

February 11, 1998 - Religious dissidents and families under surveillance ahead of U.S. delegation's visit
Security officials placed Dr. Xu Yonghai, who served a two-year reeducation term for signing a May 1995 petition calling for social justice, under tight surveillance in advance of a visit by the three-member U.S. religious delegation. Three or four plainclothesmen were stationed outside his apartment and followed him when he went out. While the delegation was in Shanghai, Xu Guoxing's family (see June 1997)were forced to go to Hangzhou to avoid any chance of a meeting with members of the delegation, a circumstance delegation members raised with local authorities.

February 12, 1998 - ICRC denies breakthrough in negotiations on prison visits
After a series of meetings between the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Chinese authorities, Christian Brumme, regional deputy head of the ICRC, made clear that no breakthrough in negotiations over prison visit conditions had occurred. He further stated that he did not expect the Chinese government to agree to the openness required by the ICRC. Access to all detainees of a similar category and to all places of detention, completely private visits with detainees, and unrestricted follow up visits are non-negotiable ICRC requirements. The last meetings between the ICRC and Chinese officials took place in June 1997; another set took place three years earlier in April 1994. After the 1997 meetings, Justice Minister Xiao Yang said ICRC conditions were too rigorous to be acceptable.

February 15, 1998 - Shanghai bishop under strict surveillance
Ever since a raid on March 4, 1997, Shanghai's "underground" Bishop Fan Zhongliang has experienced increasingly close surveillance at the home of his niece with whom he lives. A security official has even moved in across the hall. Before the raid, Bishop Fan was saying Sunday mass for several hundred parishioners; afterward he cut the numbers down to less than twenty-five.

February 17, 1998 - One dissident still in custody in connection with Wang Bingzhang affair
Wang Tingjin, an Anhui math teacher, was still in custody as of February 13 for refusing to cooperate with police regarding the January 26 illegal entry into China of U.S. resident Wang Bingzhang. The two men were detained together when they left Wang Tingjin's home to make photocopies. Several hours later, police came to the apartment, took books and papers, and briefly detained Zhang Fangrong, Wang Tingjin's wife. She was picked up again on February 12 and held for several hours. Four others picked up in connection with the case -- Wang Donghai, Yang Qinheng, Zhang Rujun, and Zhang Yuxiang (also known as Meng Tianye) -- were released by February 12. Wang Bingzhang himself, who slipped into China using a false name in order to form an opposition party and distribute a manual for democracy activists, was detained on February 6 in Bengbu, Anhui province, and put on a plane back to the U.S. on February 9.

February 1998 - Protest in Drapchi during Tibetan New Year
As prisoners watched television, a privilege extended to them during the Tibetan New Year, a monk and two nuns took advantage of the circumstances to shout pro-independence slogans. The three may have had there sentences extended.

February 19, 1998 - Protest organizer sentenced
Tu Guangwen, who organized a street protest by laid-off workers, was administratively sentenced to a three-year reeducation through labor term on February 19, 1998. The charges against Tu, a Jiangxi province resident, included "gathering a crowd to disrupt orderly traffic."

February 19, 1998 - Provincial governments ordered to inform Beijing of labor tensions
A central government order has been issued requiring all provincial governments to "report to Beijing without delay any signs of workers' agitation in an attempt to build up a centralized information network on possible social unrest." Provincial officials had been ignoring earlier orders to report signs of instability once every three months.

February 24, 1998 - Labor activist to serve sentence at home
Li Qingxi, an unemployed former health worker at a clinic attached to the Datong (Shaanxi province) Coal Mining Administration, has been ordered to serve a one-year reeducation through labor sentence in his home. Arrested by ten police officers on January 16 for putting up notices calling on workers to form their own independent unions, contacting overseas labor and democratic organizations, listening to VOA, and calling for redressing those wronged in connection with the June 4, 1989 pro-democracy movement, he was returned to his residence on February 24.

February 26, 1998 - Medical researcher closely monitored before being detained
On February 26, three days after he was ordered to stay home, and some two weeks after he wrote a letter denouncing then Premier Li Peng, police in Fuzhou, Fujian province detained Lin Xinshu, a former medical researcher for the Center for Research in Chinese Medicine. He was released approximately a week later. (See January 21, 1998.)

February 26, 1998 - Foreign Ministry calls Wu'erkaixi a wanted criminal
A Foreign Ministry spokesman warned on February 26, 1998, that Wu'erkaixi, No.2 on the 1989 "most wanted" student list, "on Chinese a wanted criminal, so everyone knows what action would be taken" should he try to return to China.

February 28, 1998 - Anhui dissident seized
Six police officers took Ma Lianggang, formerly a student at Anhui University, from his home on February 28, 1998 and held him for several days. No reason was given for his detention. Ma has not been involved in the recent rash of petitions and open letters to government officials. He has, however, spent a total of forty-one months behind bars, first in connection with the events in Hefei in 1989 and again in 1992 in connection with a wholesale country-wide roundup of those suspected of involvement in underground pro-democracy groups. (See October 15, 1997.)

MARCH 1998

March 1, 1998 - Shanghai dissidents released after two days Released on March 1 after two days spent in the Xujiahui district police station in Shanghai, Zhang Rujun reported intense questions about his dissident plans. An activist during the 1979-81 Democracy Wall movement, Zhang was one of seventeen who signed a February petition demanding a revised constitution, adherence to two major U.N. treaties, and the release of all political prisoners. (See February 17, 1998.) Another Shanghai signatory, Cheng Fan, also spent two days in detention.

March 1998 - Fifteen monks arrested "Rebellion Monastery" In the first half of March 1998, after monks in Rongo Rabten monastery in Tibet protested against being forced by a work team to denounce the Dalai Lama, some forty Chinese officials accompanied by armed troops made their way to the remote rural site to try to resolve the impasse. But when twenty or thirty monks from Rongo Rabten and others from Sog Tsanden monastery shouted independence slogans, fifteen of their number were arrested. Rongo Rabten has been dubbed "Rebellion Monastery" for its repeated failure to comply with Chinese orders.

March 2-3 - Two dissidents from Xi'an held
Zheng Baohe, a teacher, and Zhang Jiankang, a lawyer, both from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, were reported to have been picked up for questioning on March 2 and 3 respectively. Both were released quickly. The two along with seven others had demanded the release of all political prisoners and the restoration of the honor of Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, former secretary generals of the Chinese Communist Party. Zheng spent a year in prison in connection with the 1989 pro-democracy movement and was briefly detained in January 1998.

March 1998 - Molecular biologist questioned during family visit
State Security officers interrogated Chen Bangzheng, a molecular biologist living in the U.S. since 1985, after he returned to Shanghai to visit his family and friends. Most of the questions were directed at his ties to the International Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars and about individual members whom his Chinese interrogators knew by name.

March 11, 1998 - Numbers of monks and nuns re-educated reported
At a press conference in Beijing on March 11, 1998 while the National People's Congress was in session, Raidi, chairman of the Standing Committee of the TAR Regional People's Congress, reported that 700 monasteries and nunneries had been consolidated through patriotic education and that the campaign had been extended to 35,000 monks and nuns, some 76 percent of the total number.

March 11, 1998 - Conflicting report on Panchen Lama's whereabouts During a visit to Tibet by Austrian foreign minister Wolfgang Schuessel, vice-governor Yang Chuantang reportedly said that eight-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the Panchen Lama, was living some sixty miles northeast of Lhasa, that he was well and going to school. Earlier reports placed the boy in Beijing.

March 11, 1998 - Patriotic education to continue
In a press conference held during the annual meeting of the National People's Conference, Raidi, chairman of Tibet's regional government, announced a continuation and extension of the patriotic education campaign. "It is totally necessary," he said, "to launch patriotic education among citizens...In schools, it is designed for the purpose of maintaining the unity of the motherland." (See November 20, 1997.) The announcement came a day after the Dalai Lama accusing China of "cultural genocide."

March 11, 1998 - Strike Hard to continue
Ren Jianxin, retiring president of the Supreme People's Court, has announced that the two-year-old "strike hard" campaign against crime is to be continued throughout the entire country.

March 13, 1998 - China "prepared" to sign ICCPR
In his retirement statement, then Foreign Minister Qian Qichen announced China's decision to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. No date for the signing or timetable for ratification has been announced. Chinese officials have been discussing critical reservations, which exempt a signatory from certain articles in the covenant, with officials from several European countries.

March 14, 1998 - Dissidents detained for letter writing
Police in Zhejiang, questioned Mao Guoliang, a chemistry teacher, for five hours after he joined others in writing an open letter on February 17 denouncing Premier Li Peng for murder and urging the NPC to reject him as its next chairman. Mao was also questioned on February 19 about how the letter was distributed and how other signers were contacted, and then again on March 13. On March 15, he and eleven others demanded the release of political prisoners and more political freedoms for all. Another dissident, Wang Youcai, was questioned at home in connection with the first letter and for several days running found that police officers had been stationed outside his house. (See April 27, 1998.)

March 15, 1998 - Priest arrested in Hebei province
Father Shi Wende, a priest in Yixian diocese, northern Hebei province, was arrested on March 14, 1998 while visiting with an "underground" Catholic family in Liuliqiao. As of June 10, his whereabouts were unknown. Father Shi had been detained earlier following his participation in the 1989 "underground" Bishops' Conference.

March 17, 1998 - Poet freed after ten months in police custody
Poet Chen Dongdong, detained in May 1997 for allegedly having had "illicit sexual relations," was released after ten months in custody. He had been poetry editor of Tendency Quarterly, a magazine that began in the Beijing underground in 1988 and was closely monitored because of its alleged links with the dissident community both within and outside China.

March 23, 1998 - Forced eviction in Shandong province
After six families in Yanzhou, Shandong province refused to meet the March 23 deadline for leaving their homes to make way for a cultural center and a radio station, police reportedly forcibly evicted them and demolished the houses. Two people reportedly were detained by the police. A city official refused to confirm the report, but did confirm the deadline date.

March 24, 1998 - Dissident held during visit by Premier Zhu Rongji
On March 24, 1998, police detained Leng Wanbao, formerly a worker at Changchun (Jilin province) No.1 Motor Works, ahead of a reported visit to the plant by Premier Zhu Rongji. Leng served eight years in prison in connection with the 1989 pro-democracy movement for allegedly "actively taking part in a counterrevolutionary group" and for counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement. Tang Yuanjuan, Li Wei and Liang Liwei, three others sentenced for their part in the alleged group, were warned not to make trouble. (See July 1997.)

March 27, 1997 - Anhui dissidents apply to register newspaper
Two Anhui activists, Mao Guoliang (see March 14, 1998) and Wang Donghai (see February 17, 1998) sent an application to the Ministry of Justice for permission to register China Human Rights News. "Our objective," they said "is to supervise government work through public opinion and by exposing those cases that violate human rights legislation." Wang's dissident activities go back to the Democracy Wall period and he has been active since 1995 in authoring petitions and letters to the government officials. In 1996, he was sentenced to a one-year term of reeducation through labor which he was permitted to serve at home.

March 27, 1998 - Another dissident sentenced
Yang Qinheng, a forty-four-year-old dissident from Shanghai, was sentenced to three years' reeducation through labor on March 27, 1998, a month after he was arrested for allegedly stirring up social unrest by reading an open letter on Radio Free Asia on January 27. The letter, calling for workers' right to unionize, claimed that the government's anti-unemployment efforts were threatening to social stability. Yang's house was searched and dissident documents confiscated, including a copy of the petition he and sixteen others had signed which called for a reassessment of the official June 4 verdict. Yang has been imprisoned before, once in 1983 on a counterrevolutionary propaganda charge and again in 1994 for allegedly storing drugs. (See October 14, 1997 and February 17, 1998.)

March 27, 1997 - Two detained in Changsha, Hunan province
Pan Mindong, a boxing coach, and Xie Changfa, an engineer and former cadre, both of whom served two years in prison for their role in the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Hunan, were detained for fifteen days for planning a rally in Changsha to celebrate Zhu Rongji's election as premier.

March 27, 1998 - Shen Liangqing sentenced
According to information given his father on March 27, Shen Liangqing, a former senior public prosecutor from Anhui province, received a two-year reeducation through labor term and sent to Baofeng Labor Camp in Xuanzhou, Anhui, 120 miles from his home. He was arrested on February 25, 1998 during the run up to the 1998 session of the National People's Congress (NPC) because of letters he sent to the government and Party criticizing the selection of former premier Li Peng as the NPC's new chairman. In addition, Shen maintained contact with overseas human rights organizations and Western journalists. Active in Hefei, Anhui during the 1989 pro-democracy movement, Shen spent seventeen months in detention in 1992-93 for "counterrevolutionary activities." (See August 12 and September 1, 1997.)

March 29, 1998 - Man freed from cage after five years
On March 29, 1998, the day after the Yangcheng Evening News reported that for five years Deng Qilu, a forty-three-year-old farmer, had been held in a small sealed cage too short for him to stand erect, officials in Zhanjiang city, Guangdong province, removed him to People's Hospital. He was naked except for a loin cloth and wearing leg irons at the time. The city's judicial psychiatric institute and mental health hospital had diagnosed Deng as a schizophrenic in 1989 and recommended enforced custody because of his propensity for violence. Instead of being sent to a hospital, he was remanded to police custody.

March 31, 1998 - Shandong province targets politics-related illegal publications
At a news briefing on March 31, 1998, it was reported that in addition to obscene materials, Shandong's drive on illegal publications has been aimed at eliminating politics-related materials.

March 31, 1998 - Protestors detained in Fuzhou
Three representatives, Huang Yianmen, Zhu Quihua, and Lian Changqi, reportedly were detained after police broke up a sit-in by residents trying to prevent their homes from being demolished. The protest began on March 30, but after officials from the Fujian Provincial Government in Fuzhou refused to meet with the protestors, they camped outside the office overnight. The following day, when representatives responded to an invitation to come inside, they were met by armed police. A Fuzhou official later advised the group that they could sue the government but that their homes would be demolished anyway.

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