Human Rights Chronology: China , Hong Kong, Tibet

April - June 1998

APRIL 1998

April 1, 1998 - Government interference in enforcing verdicts reported
Guangzhou court officials have reported that verdicts in some 6,000 cases because of messages or directives from government officials requesting leniency.

April 1, 1998 - Factory worker arrested
Zhao Changqing, taken from his home on March 25, 1998, was formally arrested on April 1, reportedly for endangering national security. In late February 1998, after he was released from a month's detention (see January 23, 1998), Zhao was laid off with a monthly stipend of only 150 renminbi (approximately U.S.$25) and when friends tried to help, his cash and identity card were confiscated. In early March, Zhao was one of nine in Shaanxi province who asked for recognition for those killed on June 4 and for rehabilitation of Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang.

April 1, 1998 - Land protest in Guangdong
Protests on April 1, 1998 by villagers in Yuanzhou, Guangdong province claiming that their land had been taken without compensation led to bloody clashes with the police. Liang Jinlo died as a result of his injuries and fifty protestors were injured. As of April 10, five villagers were in detention.

April 4, 1998 - U.S. scholar deported
On April 4, 1998, less than an hour after she arrived at her parents' apartment in Sichuan province, the local police took Li Xiaorong, a research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland, into custody. She was traveling on a U.S. passport and had a valid visa, but according to police officers, her work in the U.S. on behalf of human rights in China had earned her a place on China's blacklist. The April visit was Li's second in eleven years. She had planned to visit with her family and to conduct academic research on recent political and social changes in China.

April 4, 1998 - Xinjiang clamps down on political and religious publications
Religious publications that harm national unity and books with serious political problems are among those being targeted for confiscation by the Xinjiang Regional Press and Publications Bureau in 1998.

April 4, 1998 - Activist held after attempt to establish human rights group
On April 4, 1998, after police officers searched veteran dissident Xu Wenli's home and took his computer fax machine, and address book, he was held at the local police station for twenty-four hours) and warned not to "cross the line" and not to publish any material without first seeking approval. On March 20, Xu had petitioned to establish an independent human rights monitoring group and to publish a newsletter. The first two issues appeared on March 23 and 24.

April 5 - Palm Sunday arrest in Baoding
Father Lu Genyou, an "underground" priest from Baoding diocese in Hebei province, was arrested on April 5, Palm Sunday, while preparing to say mass in a private home. His release was reported on May 13.

April 5, 1998 - Law professor disappears
Li Baiguang, a law professor at Hainan University, was detained in Haikou, the capital of Hainan province, on April 5, 1998. As of June 10, his whereabouts were unknown. The reason for Li's detention is unclear, but may have been in connection with a "salon" he organized so students could discuss political reforms. Police in Haikou denied the report.

April 6, 1998 - Li Bifeng captured
Li Bifeng, a thirty-three-year-old former tax official in Mianyang city, Sichuan province, on the run for over seven months, was taken from a taxi at an expressway toll booth on March 8, 1998. On April 6, he was charged with fraud, an accusation which Human Rights Watch believes is politically motivated. During 1997, Li informed international human rights monitoring groups of massive worker protests in several places in Sichuan and in the municipality of Chongqinq, and he told of the violence with which the police ended the demonstrations. He also organized a workers' poll documenting the extraordinary numbers of those unemployed (23 percent) or "laid off" (38 percent) in parts of Sichuan. As of the end of March, Li was held in the Jiangyou city detention center in Sichuan. During his time on the run, police kept a close watch on Li's wife, Jiang Xia, and other family members and subjected them to harassment. In September, police detained Zhang Jian, Li's friend, for three days. Ms. Zhang had run a restaurant in Sichuan's capital, Chengdu, frequented by Li and other Sichuan dissidents. She closed it to escape police harassment. In the mid-l980s, Li edited a dissident magazine; in connection with his pro-democracy activities during 1989, he served a five-year sentence.

April 1998 - Three-year term for divulging state secrets
Wu Ruojie, a thirty-six-year-old rock musician, was administratively sentenced in early April to a three-year reeducation through labor term for "divulging state secrets," the secret being the arrest of four poets in Guiyang, Guizhou province. Two of the four, Ma Qiang and Wu Ruohai, who is Wu's brother, were released in late March. (See January 26-27.)

April 6, 1998 - Dissident freed on bail
Liu Kangxiu, a thirty-four-year-old construction engineer from Zhongshan city, Guangdong province, was freed on bail after being held nine days on suspicion of subversion. Police who questioned him were interested in whether he knew Li Baiguang. Liu's wife reported that seven police officers searched their home on March 29, removing an address book, a computer, and a copy of Our Point of View, Liu's unpublished manuscript on political reform. (See April 5.)

April 1998 - Monastery complex demolished in Tibet
In April 1998, local laborers, under orders from Taktse county authorities, demolished a temple and monastery complex at Drak Yerpa erected after 1996. There are three possible reasons for the destruction: lack of official permission to build, reportedly the official reason; use of foreign money; and construction outside the foundation of the original historic buildings. The lama, at least fifty nuns, and an unknown number of monks were ordered to leave the site.

April 1998 - Dissident in hiding
Li Xiaolong, a thirty-four-year-old manager of a retail store in Yulin, Guangxi province, is in hiding after he was released on a family-posted bond of 10,000 renminbi (approximately U.S.$1,430). He had been detained on February 23, 1998, escaped and fled to Vietnam, but was captured and returned to China.

April 15-19, 1998 - U.S. permanent resident interrogated in Beijing
Ciping Huang, a physicist who came to the U.S. as a student in 1985, was intensely interrogated over a four-day period and threatened with arrest after she arrived in Hefei. Anhui province, for a family visit. Each day, officials from the State Security Bureau took Ms. Huang, an officer of the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars, to what appeared to be an empty hotel on the edge of the city. They questioned her about some one hundred Chinese citizens living in the U.S., primarily past and present members of the Federation, and about people in China receiving money from the Federation's June 4 Foundation. Officers expressed unhappiness about Ms. Huang's personal donations to June 4 victims and their families and with her articles about a college classmate who died on June 4. On the fourth day, after telling her she could never return to China, seven people in two cars escorted her to Nanjing airport and put her on a flight to Hong Kong.

April 19, 1998 - Three die during roundup of alleged Xinjiang separatists
On April 19, 1998, in Ili (Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region), the scene of massive rioting and arrests in February 1997, two alleged Muslim separatists and one policeman died during an attempt by police to capture a group of Uighurs. Two others were captured and one escaped. April 19, 1998 - Wang Dan sent into exile
Wang Dan, No. 1 on the "most wanted" student list following the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, was sent into exile in the U.S. Ostensibly released on medical parole, he was publicly warned by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson that he faced prison if he returned. Released in 1993 after serving most of a four-year sentence, Wang disappeared on May 21, 1995, but was not tried and sentenced until October 30, 1996. For allegedly conspiring to subvert the state, Wang received an eleven-year term.

April-May 1998 - Bishops refused permission to visit Rome
Two Chinese bishops, personally invited by Pope John Paul II to represent the church in China at the April 19-May 14 Synod in Rome, were refused travel documents by the Chinese government. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed regret at "the Vatican's unauthorized appointment of two people as members of the Asian bishops' conference." He said that ninety-year-old Bishop Duan Yinming from Wanxian diocese in Sichuan and his co-adjutor, eighty-two-year-old Bishop Xu Zhixuan, both of whom belong to the official Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), were refused permission because the Vatican and China do not have diplomatic relations, because the invitation did not come through a state-sanctioned religious organization, and because the CPA was not consulted in advance. According to the Vatican, the invitations were issued through the Chinese embassy in Rome some two months before the synod was to begin. China is at pains to stress that the Catholic Church in China operates independently and autonomously.

April 20, 1998 - Sichuan province offers bonus in drive on illegal publications
Sichuan province has raised 100,000 renminbi (approximately U.S.$12,000) as bonuses for those willing to participate in the drive against illegal publications. To date, 13,400 books have been confiscated, five people arrested, and two workshops closed. Street officers, customs officials, and railway and aviation departments all are participating in the crackdown.

April 20, 1998 - "Southern Weekend" weekly threatened with shutdown
At a meeting of propaganda organs, the deputy chief of the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee criticized the weekly Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern Weekend) for publishing too much negative news, such as stories about counterfeit wine and a bus explosion in Wuhan. The relevant government department said the paper, the largest-circulating weekly, would be banned if it refused to alter its reporting style.

April 21, 1998 - Two-year sentence for Anhui dissident
Wang Tingjin, a forty-three-year-old mathematics teacher from Bengbu, Anhui province, detained on April 14, 1998, was sentenced a few days later to two years' reeducation through labor for "disturbing the social order." He was one of six dissidents taken into custody in connection with the January 26 illegal entry into China of U.S. resident Wang Bingzhang, and he was the last to be released more than a month later. The two men were picked up when they left Wang Tingjin's apartment to make photocopies. Several hours after their detentions, police officers returned, 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. (See February 17.)

April 24, 1998 - Democracy activist barred from China
Chinese Alliance of Democracy chairman Frank Wu Fangcheng, a U.S. citizen, held for fifteen hours after he arrived in Beijing from his home in Lexington, Kentucky, was expelled from China. He had not been back to China for seventeen years. Mr. Wu, a biologist, began his dissident activities during the student movement of the late 1970s.

April 27, 1998 - "Most wanted" student banned from Beijing University anniversary celebration
Wang Youcai, No. 15 on the 1989 "most wanted" student list, was held for eight days when he tried to participate in Beijing University's 100th anniversary celebration. To keep him from contact with current students, Wang was returned to Hangzhou on April 28, the day after he was picked up by public security officers, and held until May 5. On May 7, he was warned not to leave Hangzhou. On April 6, several weeks prior to his detention, Wang co-authored a letter demanding the release of two dissidents, Shen Liangqing and Yang Qinheng, and an end to the system of reeducation through labor. Shortly after his release Wang signed a petition calling for a reevaluation of the current ideology which, the petition said, has led to corruption and a "trade of money for power." Sentenced to a four-year term for his Tiananmen Square activities, Yang was released in 1991 because he had "shown repentance."

April 27, 1998 - Explanation given on expulsion of two Tibetans from CPPCC regional committee
At an April 27, 1998 meeting of the of the 18th Standing Committee meeting of the Sixth Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an explanation was given for why Phutsok and Dorje Dramdul had been expelled. According to the report, they were guilty of "activity harmful to Tibet's stability and in serious violation of the CPPCC constitution." Such expulsions are highly unusual but appear to represent an increasingly hardline attitude toward Party members sympathetic to the Dalai Lama.

April 29, 1998 - Li Peng says Party line and policy are supreme
On April 29, 1998, Li Peng, former premier and newly elected chair of the National People's Congress (NPC), stated that no person and no organization supersede Party policies. He further alleged that the NPC's role is to "supervise and support" the government and the judiciary and that the laws it passes "give forms to the party's line...". He singled out the NPC, the State Council, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, all top government organs, as being subservient to the Party. By contrast, Qiao Shi, Mr. Li's predecessor, had insisted that the NPC was the highest body in China.

April 30, 1998 - Dissident held while Albright visits
Beijing police held Jiang Qisheng for more than eight hours on April 30 to prevent him from trying to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright during her two-day Beijing visit. He said the procedure was nothing new, that he had been temporarily detained or placed under intense surveillance during every major foreign visit in the past several years. Jiang holds a doctorate in philosophy but since his eighteen-month detention after June 1989, he has had to earn his living doing translations and writing articles. Other dissidents and their family members also experienced tightened surveillance during Albright's visit.

April 30, 1998 - Vendors clash with police; death reported
On April 30, 1998, in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, an attempt by some 800 police and judicial officials to clear a twenty-year-old street market in the interests of urban planning, reportedly resulted in four deaths and some twenty injuries. According to the report, all the stalls, employing some 3,000 traders, have been demolished and the area sealed. The Chengdu police confirmed the protest, but denied that there had been rioting, deaths or injuries. A city government spokesperson said the police were just trying to persuade the traders to move to a new building.

MAY 1998

May 1, 1998 - Zhou Guoqiang detained again
Zhou Guoqiang, released from a reeducation through labor camp on January 21, was detained briefly on May 1, some forty-eight hours after police told him not to leave home for a few days. A founder of the 1993 "Peace Charter"movement and a labor activist who advocated independent trade unions, Zhou may have been picked up to prevent his speaking out on May 1, a worldwide labor holiday, about the massive layoffs of Chinese workers. Zhou, arrested on March 3, 1994 for "collaborating with hostile organizations both inside and outside the country to carry out anti-government activities" and for planning to distribute tee-shirts with political slogans to the NPC, was sentenced to three years "re-education through labor" in September 1994 and a fourth year for an alleged escape attempt in July 1995. He spent another six months in jail in 1989 for his support of the Beijing Autonomous Workers Federation.

May 1, 1998 - Protest at Drapchi prison during May Day celebration On May 1, four days before a planned European Union delegation visit to Drapchi prison in Lhasa, prisoners assembled for a flag raising ceremony shouted pro-Tibetan independence slogans such as "Long live the Dalai Lama," and "Foreigners out of Tibet." A non-political prisoner named Aka is said to have begun the protest. Authorities reportedly accused two prisoners, whose names have been reported as Karma Sonam and Karma Dawa, of being the instigators. One of the names could be the full name of Aka. It has been reported that shots were fired to break up the protest and officials at the prison were threatened with the loss of their jobs if news of the disturbance became known. There are also unconfirmed reports that one prisoner died in the hospital following a beating and another required hospitalization.

May 2, 1998 - Chinese embassy demands film be withdrawn
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington demanded that a premiere showing of Windhorse, a film about Tibet, be canceled. He insisted the film, slated to be shown at Filmfest DC, an international film festival, would prejudice Americans understanding of Chinese policy in Tibet.

May 3, 1998 - Mother still unable to see jailed son
Sonam Dekyi, mother of Ngawang Choephel, the ethnomusicologist and Fulbright scholar who was sentenced in Tibet to an eighteen-year term for spying in December 1996, has still not succeeded in obtaining a visa to enter Tibet to see him. She has lived in India since Ngawang Choephel, now in his thirties, was two years old. When Sonam Dekyi first visited the Chinese embassy in January 1996, she was told she would have to wait four or five months. Since then she has been back at least three times, the last in August 1997, but has had no reply to her requests. Her next move will be an appeal to the U.N., accompanied by the 1,000 pages of signatures she has collected.

May 4, 1998 - Second prison protest in three days reported
A second protest may have occurred either at Drapchi or at Outridu, a detention center within the Sangyip prison complex, to which prisoners involved in the May 1 demonstration may have been transferred. According to one unconfirmed report, on May 4, the day of the E.U. delegation visit, political prisoners at Drapchi shouted slogans and put up independence posters. It is still unclear how many prisoners were involved, the extent of the Chinese response, and the fate of those taking part. At Outridu, according to another unconfirmed report, prison guards forced Tibetan prisoners transferred from Drapchi to prostrate themselves in front of the Chinese flag. After the prisoners announced their prostrations had been to honor the Tibetan cause, they reportedly were badly beaten.

May 6, 1998 - Australian reporter detained
According to a statement by an Australian official, Tony Melville, on May 6, 1998, Chinese soldiers detained Andrew Bolt, a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia, after he interviewed the captain of a ship suspected of having been hijacked by pirates. At the time of his statement, Mr. Melville stated that "we are urgently seeking consular access to him (Mr. Bolt)." The ship, intercepted in Chinese waters, is anchored off Haikou, capital of the Chinese island province of Hainan, while Chinese officials investigate the incident.

May 6, 1998 - Bureau of Religious Affairs changes name
According to Ye Xiaowen, its director, the name change from the Bureau of Religious Affairs to the State Bureau of Religious Affairs signals the emphasis the Party's Central Committee and the State are putting on religious affairs. In addition, the new name reflects changes in the bureau's work. According to the government, it will be less concerned with monitoring specific events and more with making policy recommendations, administering according to the law, and giving macro guidance to local level religious work.

May 9, 1998 - Bishop Zeng Jingmu released early; his movements restricted
Bishop Zeng Jingmu, the seventy-seven year-old Catholic Bishop of Yujiang diocese, Jiangxi province, has been released. He had been detained for the third time in seven months on November 22, 1995 and administratively sentenced to a three-year "reeducation through labor" term on March 18, 1996, served almost two-and-a-half years before his early release on May 9, 1998. It has been reported, however, that he is under heavy surveillance and permitted contact with no one but close family members. Bishop Zeng's sentence, officially for "violating administrative norms" and "irresponsibly organizing illegal meetings," refers to religious activities not sanctioned by the government's official Chinese Catholic Church. All told, Bishop Zeng has spent some twenty tears in prisons and labor camps.

May 9, 1998 - Church destroyed in Fuzhou, Fujian province
On May 9, 1998, the eve of the feast of Mary, dozen of officials from local government departments swarmed into a church in Xilu township, Luoyuan county, Fujian province, and forced out worshiping Catholics on the grounds that the church had been built without permission and was the site of illegal religious activities. Resisters reportedly were beaten. The official Catholic Bishop in Fuzhou said he had heard nothing about churches being razed or clergy being arrested in the diocese.

May 12, 1998 - Former editor charged
Fan Yiping, editor of the magazine Voice of the People during the 1979-81 Democracy Wall Movement, was arrested on May 12, 1998. The exact charges are not known. Fan, who had been working in Guangzhou as a food company manager, was first detained on March 15.

May 15, 1998 - Two sisters of U.S.-based dissent released
Thirty-six-year-old Ni Yuxia, younger sister of Shanghai dissident Ni Jinpin, who left for the U.S. on April 1,1998 to escape police harassment, has finally been released. She had been detained on April 30 along with her older sister, Ni Jinxiu, who was released earlier. According to their brother, neither sister had ever engaged in dissident activities.

May 16, 1998 - Another ban on media reporting
By May 16, 1998, over 4,000 investors in a bankrupt venture in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, had joined a protest and blocked traffic to demand justice from the municipal government. Officials, fearful of additional demonstrations, banned media reporting of the incident and barred reporters from the area.

May 17, 1998 - Two Shanghai activists held
Dai Xuezhong and Han Lifa, two Shanghai dissidents who had planned a June 4 commemorative event on a main city site, were detained on May 17, 1998. Dai has already served two three-year terms, one after 1989 during which he was severely tortured, and one beginning in 1994. Han spent over three months in detention in 1993 in connection with his membership in a dissident workers' organization.

May 17, 1998 - Three years since Panchen Lama "disappeared"
May 17, 1998 marks the third year of Gendun Choekyi's Nyima's disappearance. For Tibetan Buddhists, the nine-year-old Panchen Lama is the second most important spiritual figure. On April 30, 1998 in contradiction to an earlier report that he was in Tibet (see March 11, 1998), a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the boy was "with members of his family and everything is good. He is being guarded in another province and his return to Tibet will depend on the Dalai Lama's attitude." The religious delegation that visited China in February (see February 5, 1998) was informed that Gendun Choekyi Nyima was in Beijing, and in April, China's most senior Tibetan official said, "He is studying, maybe in Gansu province."

May 19, 1998 - World Bank protestors guilty
A Hong Kong court found four activists guilty for taking part in a protest against World Bank policies during a Bank meeting in Hong Kong in September. (See September 18, 1997.) They were convicted of obstructing a police officer for refusing to obey an order to abandon a march to the meeting's site and to stay within a designated "protest" area. Those questioning the entire procedure were particularly concerned that permitting the prosecutor to abruptly change the charge, disorderly conduct, to that of obstructing a police officer, apparently because of insufficient grounds to sustain the original charge, had a chilling effect on rights to freedom of assembly. They further condemned the police for its arbitrary use of force during the original incident.

May 20, 1998 - Security departments on alert
Fearful of collusion between intellectuals and workers, Beijing has ordered border checkpoints to be especially alert in keeping overseas dissidents and their relatives out of China.

May 20, 1998 - Police confiscate Qin Yongmin's fax machine
On May 20, 1998, Wuhan (Hubei province) public security officers brought Qin Yongmin to a local police station where he was held for twenty-four hours and interrogated about the new human rights organization he had set up with other dissidents including veteran activist Xu Wenli. (See April 4 and May 29). The officers confiscated his fax machine, severely limiting his activities, and some articles and personal telephone lists. The new organization, which since it was set up in March has issued eighty-six reports, has applied to register. Unless approved, it cannot operate legally, but authorities have not even responded to the request. Qin has been briefly but repeatedly detained during the past year. He served a seven-year term in connection with the Democracy Wall movement (1979-81), and a two-year reeducation term in 1994-95. Another member of the organization, Chen Zonghe, also from Hubei, was held for seven hours and warned to stop his participation in the new organization.

May 21, 1998 - Wife and mother of Liu Nianchun denied right to peacefully protest
Tiananmen Square police interrupted an hour-long sit-in by the wife and eighty-year-old mother of Liu Nianchun protesting his continued detention and his medical condition. The protest at the Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square came on May 21, 1998, one day after Liu should have been released, having completed his three-year reeducation through labor term. Transferred to their neighborhood police station, the two were not permitted to return home until they had endured several hours of questioning and Liu's wife had signed a "confession." Both women had visited Liu at Tuanhe Labor Reeducation Farm the day before the sit-in. There had been a report in May 1997, denied by prison officials at Shuanghe Labor Camp in Heilongjiang province where he had been sent after sentencing (he had been transferred to Tuanhe sometime after September 1997), that Liu, a principal sponsor of the League for the Protection of the Rights of the Working People, had his sentence extended by 216 days for failure to reform. When Liu protested and began a hunger strike on May 22, he was reported to have been thrown into a small dark punishment cell, denied sufficient water, and tortured with electric shocks by officers. A more recent report said that Liu may not be released until July 1999, a clear violation of China's own regulation that a reeducation through labor term may only be extended for one year.

May 21, 1998 - Exile dissident's wife prevented from meeting him in Macao
Police officers stopped a bus carrying Su Jiang, the wife of exiled dissident Wang Xizhe, to Zhuhai from where she planned to travel to Macao to meet him. Wang was scheduled to arrive in Macao to join other overseas dissidents in a discussion of the democracy movement in China.

May 22, 1998 - Priest arrested in Fujian province
Public Security Bureau officials arrested forty-six year-old Father Miao Shaozeng of Fu'an diocese, Fujian province, on May 22, 1998 and charged him with disrupting public order. As of May 28, he was still in detention. Father Miao reportedly had mounted an enormous picture of Jesus at the front of his church in Kangcuo and played religious music that could be heard outside the church walls. Police also ransacked Father Miao's home and confiscated religious publications. This was the second detention for Father Miao, the first being in 1997.

May 22, 1998 - Poet charges authorities prevented him from "living a normal life"
Liao Yiwu, a poet who served a four-year term for producing a film about the 1989 pro-democracy movement, has alleged that his firing by the Chengdu Commercial Newspaper in Sichuan province came after the State Security Bureau put pressure on the paper's management. He also charged that another effort to support himself failed when commercial inspectors ransacked the bookstore he set up in 1997.

May 23 -26, 1998 - Activists detained briefly in Shandong
On May 26, 1998 at approximately 7 p.m., police in Qingdao, Shandong province, took Li Xielin, a participant in the 1989 pro-democracy movement, in for questioning. At 9 p.m. they detained Yan Peng. Earlier in the week Chen Zengxiang was breifly detained.

May 24, 1998 - Pro-democracy forces make comeback in Hong Kong legislature
The record turnout for Hong Kong's first post-handover election saw 43 percent of the popular vote go to members of the Democratic Party. They took nine of the twenty Legislative Council (Legco) seats chosen in geographic constituencies and four from functional constituencies, making the Democrat Party the largest in the new Legco.

May 26, 1998 - Police order dissident to stay home
Police in Shenzhen ordered Miao Xike, a businessman, not to leave his home in Shekou or contact outsiders until after the June 4 anniversary of the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement. After he had tried to stage a protest in Tiananmen Square on March 6 during this year's meeting of the National People's Congress, Miao was detained for more than two weeks, and during the week of April 12, 1988, police reportedly picked him up four separate times for questioning.

May 1998 - Tightened security in run up to June 4 anniversary
Public Security Bureau officials in two provinces confiscated the identity cards of two veteran activists, Qin Yongmin, from Wuhan, Hubei province (see May 20, 1998) and Wang Hongxue (see May 29, 1998), from Bengbu, Anhui province, and told the men to remain at home. Chinese regulations require that ID cards be carried at all times. Since 1997, Wang has been active in petition and letter writing campaigns.

May 29, 1998 - Wang Hongxue detained
Police told the family of Wang Hongxue, a worker detained on May 29, 1998 for drafting letters critically of the government, that he would be held for at least fifteen days. As of June 10, there had been no report of his release. In late 1997 or early 1998, Chinese authorities tried to convince Wang's parents to voluntarily commit him to a psychiatric hospital. After their refusal, Wang has suffered chronic harassment.

May 31, 1998 - Bishop seized
Bishop Zhang Weizhu, from Cangzhou (Xianxian) diocese in Hebei province, was seized on May 31, 1998 as he was returning to his native village near Xianxian. It is believed that the thirty-nine-year-old bishop is being held by the Public Security Bureau in Cangzhou city, but no further details are available.

JUNE 1998

June 2, 1998 - No reversal on Tiananmen
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao stated on June 2, 1998, two days before the ninth anniversary of the violent repression of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, that "China's Communist Party and Government have made a correct conclusion. There's no necessity to make a reassessment of this issue." The demonstrations by students, workers, intellectuals, and others in the spring of 1989 were officially labeled a counterrevolutionary rebellion and harsh sentences were handed out to participants.

June 2, 1998 - Media controls up for review
An internal debate over optimal control of the media in China has surfaced with respect to reporting on corruption. At least one senior official has suggested that "Unless the press can freely expose the misdeeds of corrupt officials, the scourge cannot be stamped out." Another has replied that "Anti-corruption work has been successful in a couple of Asian countries that exercise relatively tight control over the press."

June 3, 1998 - China again blocks Human Rights Commissioner briefing
For the second time in four months, China blocked Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, from briefing the Security Council. (See February 8, 1998). China's permanent representative repeated the government's position that human rights issues belong in the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council. According to observers, China fears that an invitation to Ms. Robinson could set a precedent leading to a discussion of Tibet's status.

June 4, 1998 - Three Shanghai dissidents questioned on June 4
On June 4, 1998, after five hours of interrogation, Shanghai police released Cai Guahua and Yao Zhenxian. Zhou Jianhe was released sometime later. The three were part of a gathering at a teahouse in Shanghai on June 4, called to express dissatisfaction with the official verdict on June 4. Cai and Zhou have no former history of activism. Yao spent two years in a reeducation through labor camp, having been arrested with his brother on April 26, 1996 for allegedly duplicating and distributing pornographic videotapes. The charge reportedly is a complete fabrication.

June 4, 1998 - Xu Wenli disappears and reappears again
A few days before his planned trip on May 29, 1998 to visit relatives in Shenzhen, police warned veteran dissident Xu Wenli that if he attempted the trip he would have a police escort. He left on schedule but never arrived at his destination. By June 4, he was back in Beijing having been held by police in Huizhou, Guangdong province. Permission for his sister to visit during his detention or for Xu to visit her after his release were denied. Xu disappeared for the first time this year on May 9 after boarding a train in Beijing for Wuhan. After three days in police custody, he surfaced on May 13. Xu had planned to visit fellow dissident Qin Yongmin with whom he had tried to form a human rights organization. (See April 4 and May 20.) On April 25, police stopped him from driving his wife to the airport on the grounds that he was not wearing a seatbelt. He was not released until she boarded plane to the U.S. A Democracy Wall activist, Xu spent twelve years in prison before his release on parole in 1993. He has been under constant surveillance since.

June 4, 1998 - Bao Tong silenced again
On June 2, 1998, Bao Tong, a former member of the Politburo, having served his Tiananmen Square-related prison term in full and having completed his two years' deprivation of political rights which included limits on free speech and association, criticized Chinese policy in the foreign press. Two days later government officials informed him that the relevant government organizations must give advance permission for such interviews and hinted at penalties for him and for the journalists if the requirement was breached. At the same time, public security officials began checking all visitors attempting to enter Bao's apartment complex. (See August 1997.)

June 4, 1998 - Police surveillance heavy on 9th Tiananmen anniversary
Police kept dissidents under heavy surveillance in the run up to June 4. Tang Yuanjuan, released last year after serving eight years of a twenty-year sentence, said if not for the police he would have traveled to Tiananmen Square from his home in Changchun, Jilin province. In Fuzhou, Lin Xinshu, (see January 21 and February 26, 1998) said two plainclothes police officers had been stationed outside his door for several days, Ren Wanding, a Beijing activist released in 1996 after serving a seven-year sentence in full, said surveillance in the run up is "round the clock. When I go to market they go with me...I can't receive guests." In Shaanxi province, Lin Mu, secretary to the Hu Yaobang, deposed secretary-general of the Communist Party and whose death in 1989 sparked the student uprising, was warned not to create unrest. Instead of his usual loose form of house arrest, Zhao Ziyang, deposed premier and secretary-general of the Communist Party, has needed permission from the party's Central Committee for his occasional morning walks and visits to friends.

June 5, 1998 - Beijing takes umbrage at Vatican Chinese language service
The day after the Vatican announced the start of a new Chinese language Internet service, the Chinese foreign ministry warned it not to "meddle in (China's) internal affairs." Part of the new service's function will be to spread news of the Catholic Church in China.

June 6, 1998 - E.U. delegation reports on Tibet
In its report on its visit tp Tibet, an E.U. delegation found severe violations of human rights, including excessive prison sentences and new rules limiting the number of monks in the region to 46,000.

June 1998 - China confiscates Cardinal's passport
When ninety-six-year-old Cardinal Kung Pinmei, in exile in the U.S. tried to renew his passport, it was confiscated by the Chinese consulate in New York. On February 12, Ye Xiaowen, director of China's Religious Affairs Bureau said the Cardinal, long active in the "underground" Catholic Church in China, "committed a serious crime by dividing the country and causing harm to its people."

June 10, 1998 - Beijing bans book about President Clinton
Under orders from the Foreign Ministry, the State Press and Publication Administration has banned The Temperament of President Clinton until after he leaves China. The order applies only to Beijing bookstores.

US-China Summit (June 1998) and Human Rights - Campaigns Page

Back Button