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The crackdown against the CDP started in earnest in late 1998. On September 25, 1998, China's State Council had approved the "Regulations for Registration and Management of Social Groups" (Shehui tuanti dengji guanli tiaoli)42 and Premier Zhu Rongji signed them into law on October 25.43 The new regulations were more detailed and more restrictive than those they replaced and were clearly a response to the increasing number of social organizations emerging in the country. In the words of one analyst, the system of registration they mandated:

effectively nullifies freedom of association, since any unregistered group is "illegal." It also bars former political prisoners for life from forming non-profit groups or acting as their officers, as well as setting very high financial and other requirements for the establishment of a group, which will effectively block the poorest and most vulnerable from exercising this right.44
The new regulations also demanded total conformity with state policy:
Social groups/units must abide by the Constitution, the laws and regulations and state policies; may not violate the basic principles established in the Constitution; may not harm national unity, state security and the solidarity of the nationalities; may not harm the interests of the state, society, other groups or individuals; and may not go against society's morality and customs. 45
The signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, however, led CDP members to speed up the process of consolidating the embryonic party and bringing the various provincial preparatory committees together as one organization. But China's commitment on paper to the ICCPR offered little protection in fact.

On November 2, Wang Youcai was moved back into detention from house arrest. The police claimed that he had left his house too many times without informing them. Officers of the Cuiyuan district station in Hangzhou telephoned Wang's wife saying that they had received instructions from their superiors to apprehend her husband, but they refused to disclose where he was being held.46

Other CDP members proceeded with their plans despite Wang's detention. On November 6, Xu Wenli established the "First CDP National Congress Preparatory Work Group." The group consisted of Xu Wenli, Gao Hongming, and Zha Jianguo, all Beijing-based veterans of the 1979 Democracy Wall movement. Then, on November 9, Xu, Gao, Zha and a Tianjin-based former Democracy Wall activist, Lu Honglai, established the "CDP Beijing-Tianjin Regional Party Branch," with Xu as chairman.47 The branch adopted a revised party charter, and on November 11, the group issued a first statement declaring that it would take two years to establish the CDP and that they hoped to organize a first national congress in the beginning of 2000. The group saw its role as that of a temporary vanguard that would undertake consultations leading to the establishment of a more permanent core CDP leadership. It called on dissidents in prison and in exile abroad to join in such preparatory efforts.48

Xu's decision to create a "party branch" rather than a "preparatory committee," however, caused controversy within the dissident movement as this implied that the party was already operational, not still in the process of formation. Activists in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shandong and elsewhere considered the move premature but other "branches" were soon formed, resulting in a hybrid structure where "preparatory committees" and "party branches" co-existed.

Meanwhile, on November 10, the CDP National Preparatory Committee issued an open letter directly appealing to the State Council to enable it to exercise the "heaven-bestowed right to organize a party," in accordance with the guarantees of freedom of association, expression, and assembly contained in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution and the recently signed International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The letter argued, as the CDP's Hangzhou Preparatory Committee had done, that to be successful, economic reforms should be accompanied by political liberalization, and it repeated the CDP's "Four Principles" of "reason, peace, openness and legality."49 The letter made no reference to the Civil Affairs Bureaus or to the new Regulations for Registration and Management of Social Groups. It was signed by fifty-three people from nineteen provinces and four municipalities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing.50 It elicited no reaction or response from the authorities.

Following the formation of party branches by activists in Beijing and Tianjin, the CDP Hubei preparatory committee took the same step. On November 26, spokesman Qin Yongmin announced that the Hubei branch respected the provisional CDP charter and planned to submit it "to the First CDP National Congress for deliberation, revision and approval."51 The Hubei members then published the full texts of the CDP party charter, the party oath, and a list of their leading members on the Internet. All of these actions were indications that the CDP saw itself as a nationwide organization and was moving toward the formation of a national structure.

Meanwhile, the police were starting to tighten control. On November 21 in Hangzhou, they briefly detained Yao Zhenxian, Li Guotao, Wu Yilong, and Zhu Zhengming before a planned meeting at a hotel. Other party members, Zhu Yufu and Mao Guoliang, were told not to leave their homes. In protest, the CDP's National Preparatory Committee published an "Urgent Proclamation Regarding the Authorities' Limiting the Civil Rights and Repressing the Zhejiang CDP Members." In it, they complained about the detention and interrogation by police of committee members and police confiscation of CDP documents and a fax machine. On November 21, Mao Qingxiang's wife received a notification from the police that her husband would be kept and interrogated for twenty-four hours for activities on behalf of "a social group which was not yet approved."52

Then, in an interview with the German daily Handelsblatt published on December 1, 1998, Li Peng, chairman of the National People's Congress, made clear the government's attitude to any group which dared challenge the Communist Party:

If the purpose [of the group] runs contrary to the Constitution or the basic policies of China, or against the socialist market economy, national unity and independence, or against social stability, and if it is designed to negate the leadership of the Communist Party, then it will not be allowed to exist.
He added:
China's National People's Congress will not use the Westminster formula, whereby members of parliament are noisy and even rude to each other during debates.53
The Trials
After this unmistakable signal from the top, the official clampdown on the CDP gathered momentum, and over the following months there were three distinct waves of arrests, interrogations, and trials of CDP activists.

The First Wave
The first wave of arrests resulted in the detention of at least seven prominent CDP members, including Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai, and Qin Yongmin,54 all of whom were then tried and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Court proceedings against Xu Wenli started on December 9, 1998. He was accused of plotting to overthrow the government and undermine state security, in violation of Article 105(1), Article 106, and Article 66 of the PRC Penal Code.55 The indictment also noted that Xu had advocated "ending one-party dictatorship, establishing a third republic, [and] guaranteeing human rights and freedom." In addition, he was alleged to have given interviews to foreign journalists, accepted funds from abroad and "linked up with foreign hostile element" Yan Jiaqi, the exiled advisor to former CCP general secretary Zhao Ziyang. Xu Wenli was accused of collaborating with Yan Jiaqi in drafting the constitution of the CDP, which he then was said to have circulated.

In response to the charges, Xu Wenli's lawyer, Mo Shaoping, who was defending him free of charge, argued that there was no evidence that he was directly involved in drafting the CDP charter and that other allegations against him had no basis.56 For his part, Xu told the court:

This trial is a grave political repression of the China Democracy Party by a small minority of Chinese Communist Party leaders. I therefore refuse to answer any questions from the prosecution.57
He went on to stress that the formation of the CDP report was not aimed at "beating down or overthrowing" the Communist Party but merely "ending one-party rule by peaceful means."58 The prosecution, however, contended that Xu's calls for an independent labor union, his willingness to be interviewed by foreign journalists, and his acceptance of U.S.$500 from abroad were evidence of his subversive activities.

On December 21, 1998 the court sentenced Xu to thirteen years in prison and three years' deprivation of political rights. He is due for release on November 29, 2011. He did not appeal. After the trial, according to his wife, he was transferred from the Banbu Detention Center in Beijing to the Tuanhe Reform Through Labor Farm on the city's outskirts,59 but he is now held in Yanqing Prison.

Wang Youcai was indicted in Hangzhou one week after his formal arrest on November 30, 1998 and a month after his detention on November 2. His "crimes," according to the prosecution, included drafting the CDP declaration; being the prime mover of the CDP; intending to hold a CDP meeting in the form of a tea party; and sending eighteen CDP documents abroad by electronic mail. While under house arrest, according to the prosecution, he had held a meeting with Wang Ce, a dissident based in Spain who was later accused of "illegally crossing the border" into China and giving him over U.S.$780 in cash which he used to buy a computer.60 Like Xu Wenli, Wang was treated as a "recidivist" on the grounds that he "once again hooked up with foreign hostile persons" after his release from imprisonment in connection with the June 4, 1989 crackdown.61 On December 21, Wang was convicted of violating Article 106 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to eleven years in prison. Qin Yongmin was sentenced after a two-and-a-half-hour trial on December 17, 1998 in the Wuhan People's Intermediate Court. He was convicted of, among other things, "preparing to organize the CDP, editing China Human Rights Watch, reporting on human rights to the United Nations, and linking up with foreign hostile organizations." His elder brother, Qin Xiaoguang, arrived a few minutes late and was denied entry to the court. But when the verdict was announced on December 22, he was able to shout to his brother, "Qin Yongmin, what is the crime? What is the sentence?" In response, Qin called back, "Subverting state power. Twelve years. I am not going to appeal. I have contempt for this court."62 Qin Yongmin was transferred to the Shayang Reform through Labor Farm in Zhongxiang District, Hubei province, in early January 1999.63

The trials provoked an immediate response. More than 200 dissidents addressed a petition to the government demanding the prisoners' release and launched a hunger strike in protest. The strike was scheduled to start on December 24, 1998 and continue until April 10, 1999; in practice, it continued through January 1999. The U.S. State Department criticized the trials, publicly characterizing them as "a step backwards in what had been an improved human rights performance over the last year or two."64 Derek Fatchett, a senior British Foreign Ministry officials, said he was shocked at the severity of the sentences, and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the sentences threatened Sino-German talks on human rights.65

But even before the verdicts were handed down, President Jiang Zemin echoed Li Peng's hardline position in a speech that he made in Japan on December 18, 1998, the twentieth anniversary of China's economic reform policy:

We must be on guard, from the beginning to the end, against infiltrating, subversive and splittist activities by international and domestic hostile forces. Any political behavior that is aimed at damaging the stability and unity of our country runs counter to the will and the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. No matter where these factors which damage social stability come from, we must firmly hold to the Four Basic Principles and have a clear-cut stand in increasingly opposing them and firmly nipping them in the bud.66
Five days later, after the harsh sentences had been announced, Jiang Zemin returned to the same theme, this time before a Chinese audience. "Stability should prevail over everything," he said, using a slogan that Deng Xiaoping had used in a speech just after the Tiananmen crackdown, and adding:
Nineteen ninety-nine is going to be a very important year in the history of development of our party and our country. We will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the country, Macao will return to the Motherland. The importance of continuing to protect social stability is enormous.67
He added once more that any developments which might undermine social stability should be "nipped in the bud."

Despite the arrests of at least twenty CDP members in November and December 1998, Yao Zhenxian, the first CDP member to reach the United States, testified before the U.S. Congress on January 8, 1999, that "the essential core [of the CDP] remains functioning ... many Party members not known to the authorities or the public are still very active." They, he said, would "continue to expand" the CDP's activities and "overcome present adversities."68

New Activities Under The Eye Of The Police
After the first trials had taken some of the top leaders out of action, a second layer of CDP leaders came to the fore, and once again, the focus of activity was in Hangzhou. These leaders continued to hold meetings and issue open letters to the Chinese government in the face of steady harassment. For example, Wu Yilong, a main CDP organizer who had traveled around the country to gather support in 1998, was expelled from Hangzhou University on January 16. His hukou, the residence permit which allowed him to live in Zhejiang, was automatically cancelled, and he was expelled from the province. Later, in April, he was detained by Guangzhou police when he traveled to Guangdong province to look for work. They sent him back to Hangzhou, where local police detained him on arrival and accused him of being a vagrant (mangliu). He was told that he would be released after the tenth anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4, 1999, but he remained in detention until he was brought to trial in October 1999.69

Another Hangzhou activist, Zhu Zhengming, was interrogated by police on January 16, 1999 after he protested against Wu Yilong's expulsion from the university. The deputy chief of the police station to which he was taken told him, "Your sort of people, we should put you in a hemp bag and beat you to a pulp." "Beating people is illegal," said Zhu. The policeman then replied, "Of course we won't beat you [ourselves], others will beat you, and we won't know it."70

Zhu contrasted his treatment on this occasion with an earlier incident on July 8, 1998:

If that harassment [the first time] was comparatively civilized -- materials they checked were placed back in their original place -- then this one [in January 1999] was definitely barbaric. Everything was turned upside down; the house was in a mess. The police chief said, "After this, we'll come to make a mess every two weeks."71
CDP members were also active in other provinces. On February 10, 1999, for example, the Liaoning CDP activists in Liaoning called on other dissidents to "comfort and economically support" the families of victims of the suppression of the Tiananmen protests in June 1989.72 Gao Hongming, who had taken over the leadership of the Beijing-Tianjin branch after the detention of Xu Wenli, called upon the National People's Congress to scrap the "Four Basic Principles" in order to guarantee civil rights. He also proposed the depoliticization of the army, direct elections for delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC), and the amending of Article 35 of the Constitution to include "the right to organize parties." In Jilin province, An Fuxing called for the NPC to "review the judgment about June 4" and implement a general amnesty for all political prisoners.73

In early February, CDP members in five provinces -- Shaanxi (Xi'an city branch), Hebei, Henan, Liaoning, and, Hunan (Huangxiong city) -- announced that they had formed "party branches," but they did not seek to register them with the Civil Affairs authorities. On March 5, Shi Liuchuan and Wang Zemin established the CDP Inner Mongolia Preparatory Committee in the city of Chifeng. This brought the total of CDP organizations nationwide to twenty-nine, including nine party branches, nineteen preparatory committees, and one national committee.74

Gao Hongming announced the establishment of the national committee on February 6 and plans were made to hold a national congress in Wuhan from March 1 to 3.75 The meeting was to coincide with a seminar on human rights, organized by China Human Rights Watch magazine, to which the director of the official China Human Rights Association had been invited. But the police intervened, summoning Fu Shen and Zha Jianguo, CDP leaders from Shaanxi and Beijing respectively, for interrogation, and briefly detaining Wang Zechen from Liaoning and Lu Xinhua from Wuhan. All were told to cease their party activities.76 Police in Wuhan summoned Fu Shen twice more and warned him, "If we meet you again, it will be in jail."77 Chen Zhonghe and Xiao Shichang, leaders of the Hubei Branch, were detained on February 13. The planned national congress never took place.

In Hangzhou, meanwhile, dissidents tried to gather in informal meetings but without much success. Shortly after Chinese New Year, on February 16, police broke up a party organized by the CDP Preparatory Committee in Zhejiang province. Uniformed and plainclothes police surrounded the venue, questioned the partygoers, checked their identities, and recorded their names. They also detained a CDP member from Shandong, Wang Jinbo, who had come to Zhejiang to look for work.78 On February 28, however, a CDP meeting was allowed to go ahead, perhaps because U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was then visiting Beijing. On March 14, 1999, police detained fourteen CDP members in Zhejiang after they announced their intention to hold a seminar on "how to promote the democratic process in China." Wang Rongqing, Zhu Yufu, and Zhu Zhengming were taken in and questioned, but then released.79

Undeterred, the CDP Zhejiang preparatory committee announced on March 19 that it would hold biweekly meetings to discuss further development of the CDP and the promotion of democracy.80 Police broke up the first meeting when the activists tried to hold it in a Hangzhou teahouse two days later. They detained Lai Jinbiao, Wang Rongqing, Mao Qingxiang, and Li Xi'an and questioned them for five hours and ordered others present to leave the teahouse.81

The government issued a further warning at the end of March, as the tenth anniversary of the 1989 pro-democracy movement approached. Minister of Public Security Jia Chunwang declared that "the situation of social safety this year is grave" and spoke of the need to guard against "foreign hostile forces" that aimed to destroy the Communist Party.82 Li Zhiyou, of the Guangxi preparatory committee, was formally arrested and charged with instigating the overthrow of the government. He had gone back to Guilin and was detained after putting up CDP posters. He was eventually sentenced to three years in prison.

Yue Tianxiang, Guo Xinmin, and Wang Fengshan, labor activists from Gansu with close connections to the CDP, faced the same charges. Guo and Wang each received a two-year prison sentences but Yue was sentenced to ten years in prison for having had contact with an overseas organization.83 Another activist, Wang Ce, was charged on February 4 with illegal border crossing, illegal funding of individuals in order to subvert the state, and endangering state security.84 According to the court documentation, he was also convicted of giving U.S.$1,000 to Wang Youcai in a teahouse in the Yuquan Park in Hangzhou. He was sentenced to four years in prison, two years' deprivation of political rights, and a fine of RMB5,000 (U.S.$610).85 By May 1999, at least six core CDP members had been tried and convicted.

The Second Wave
A new surge of nationalism was sparked by the May 7, 1999 NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. This, together with the unexpected rise of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, and official fears of demonstrations and dissent in connection with the tenth anniversary of the 1989 Beijing crackdown, led to a new wave of repression against anyone perceived to be deviating from state policy. Across the country during this period, more than 190 people were detained, including some CDP members.

On May 17, the People's Daily took aim at dissidents living in exile abroad:

You have your mouth full of the struggle for democracy. What kind of democracy are you struggling for? Is it a democracy where Chinese people stand up and are the masters in their own house? Or do you show the Chinese people and the people of the world a wink of hegemonism, and is it a democracy by hegemonism which goes to any length to achieve its wicked purpose? For more than fifty days, the ugly performance by you and your masters has already given the answer.86
On May 19, Han Shubin, chief of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, stressed that "any activities harming state security" would be suppressed. One day later, on May 20, the CDP Beijing branch called for a peaceful commemoration of the tenth anniversary of June 4. It asked people to wear light-colored clothing on June 4. People could go to Tiananmen Square but not interrupt the construction work, which the government had begun in late 1998, conveniently restricting access through the period of the anniversary. "One can stand or sit still for a while," CDP instructions went, "but definitely not paste posters or shout slogans."87 Protests remained low key but there was a new wave of detentions, indictments, and formal arrests. The case of Beijing CDP representative Zha Jianguo was heard on July 5, 1999. He stood trial at the same time as Gao Hongming. Both men were accused of subverting state political power. The indictment alleged that Zha Jianguo and Gao Hongming had planned:
to establish, with Xu Wenli (already sentenced) the "CDP Beijing-Tianjin Region Branch" in November 1998 at No. 423, Entrance 4, Street 2, Baiguang Road in Xuanwu District, the house of Xu, where Xu was to be the chairman and Zha Jianguo and Gao Hongming the vice-chairmen. They approved the "CDP Constitution" (provisional) which they had formulated together with overseas hostile element Yan Jiaqi. The said constitution stipulates that "the prime objective of the CDP is to put an end to the dictatorship of one-party rule and establish a Third Republic."88
The men were accused of publishing articles in the overseas dissident magazine, Beijing Spring. The authorities also alleged that in February 1999, Zha and Gao established the CDP United General Headquarters in order to organize the various provincial groups and drafted a "CDP United General Headquarters Constitution" (Zhongguo minzhudang lianhe zongbu dangzhang). The men were also accused of designing a party flag, a symbol, and a song.89

On August 2, Zha was sentenced to nine years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights. Gao Hongming was sentenced to eight years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights. One CDP member, He Depu, tried to attend the trial. Two days before it began, on July 30, he went to ask for an "visitor's permit." He was received by a woman in the reception office near the gate of the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, who told him that passes in advance were not given. On August 2, the day of the trial, he went early, and at 7:30 a.m. was the first to apply for a permit. But police had cordoned off the north and west entrances of the building and did not allow people go inside. When the office opened at 8:30 a.m., He was received by a male official to whom he showed his ID and asked to attend the trial of Zha Jianguo and Gao Hongming. The official told him that permits were only given when the applications were made "in an organized way and approved by leaders." It was not possible, he was told, to get a permit on his own. He was then detained by plainclothes police and kept in a police station for eight hours.90

On September 17, 1999 the Beijing High People's Court rejected the appeal of Zha Jianguo and Gao Hongming.91

She, who worked as deputy head of a municipal bank branch and was director of a trust association, was taken from his home on July 7, 1999, by public security officials.92 The officials also searched his home. He was formally arrested on July 10 on charges of subverting state power. On August 4, he was sentenced to twelve years in prison.93 SheWanbao was a core member of the CDP who helped coordinate party activities nationwide after Wang Youcai, Qin Yongmin, and Xu Wenli were sentenced and imprisoned. He had been active during the 1989 democracy movement and had written essays about it which were published in Hong Kong. After the 1989 crackdown, he was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. After his release in 1992, he became a private entrepreneur. Liu Xianbin was detained on July 7, 1999 and formally arrested one week later. He was sentenced to thirteen years in prison by the Suining City Intermediate People's Court in Sichuan province on August 6.94 The trial lasted four hours, and Liu's wife, Chen Mingxian, attended. Liu, formerly a student in the personnel management department of People's University, had served a two-and-a-half-year sentence in the early 1990s for publishing Democracy Forum, a magazine promoting political reform. He became involved in the CDP in 1998 and coordinated a liaison group which was dedicated to campaigning for the release of Xu Wenli.95 As a co-founder of the CDP-Sichuan chapter, he was detained three times during 1998 and 1999. He did not have access to a lawyer either before or during his trial and did not defend himself. He was convicted of subverting state power under Article 105 of the penal code.96 In an open letter to President Jiang Zemin, Liu's wife wrote:
... the Suining city state security [personnel] announced the detention was "ordered from above" ... they took a congratulatory phone call by an overseas organization as proof of [Liu's] crime of linking up with overseas organizations, to organize and plot the establishment of the CDP; they [also] took some words in a certain issue of China Human Rights Watch as evidence as well as the notes of a journalist.97
Even as repression peaked, dissidents in three provinces, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Yunnan announced the establishment of new CDP committees and issued a "founding declaration" on July 5.98 This time, however, the committees did not post telephone numbers of members on the Internet, nor did they mention going to the Civil Affairs Bureau to register.

The Third Wave
On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1999, a new wave of arrests and trials began. As the anniversary drew near, the CDP had released several documents, including an "Open Declaration by CDP Branches of Twenty-Five Provinces and Cities."99In it, the party once again recognized Jiang Zemin as head of state and the CCP as the ruling party, but it also called for direct democratic elections and a system of division of powers.100 The CDP Sichuan Preparatory Committee called for a general amnesty of all political prisoners, pointing out that many countries give a general amnesty in connection with important festivals. The CCP, it said, should do the same and use the amnesty to lay the groundwork for political reform and improving human rights.101

But instead of releasing political prisoners, Chinese authorities detained more people for their political activities. Liu Shizun, who had worked together with Xu Wenli, Zha Jianguo, and Gao Hongming in the party's Beijing-Tianjin branch, was formally arrested on September 17, 1999. His house in Dalian was searched, and address books were confiscated. On the morning of October 1, a CDP member from Zhejiang, Nie Minzhi, was taken into custody.

Shortly after October 1, the wives of four top CDP activists, Mao Qingxiang, Zhu Yufu, Xu Guang, and Wu Yilong, received an "urgent announcement" from the Hangzhou City Procuratorate that they should get their husbands a lawyer, since the proceedings against them were about to begin. All four men had been in detention for months. Wu Yilong had been detained on April 26 in Guangzhou. Zhu Yufu and Mao Qingxiang, together with another CDP member named Wang Rongqing and two friends from Shanghai had been in custody since June 19, 1999, although Mao's wife was only informed of the detention on September 20, some three months later. On September 24, the four wives had written an open letter to the Chinese government, faxed to foreign journalists, demanding the release of their husbands and clarification as to where, what for and for how long they were detained.102They received no response until the procuratorate informed them that the trials were imminent.

The trials started at 7:00 a.m. on October 25 in the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court and lasted until 3:00 p.m. The court building was sealed off by police, and only two family members of each of the defendants were allowed in. The four defendants were told that their attempts to establish the CDP constituted a plot to subvert state political power. The prosecution also noted that they had established a magazine, Opposition Party (Zai yedang), posted "subversive" material regarding the CDP on some Chinese-language bulletin boards on the Internet, and "plotted to link up with overseas organizations." 103 The four spoke in their own defense, but judges cut them short because they made "anti-government" statements.104 Two weeks after the trial, the four were sentenced. Wu Yilong was given eleven years in prison, Mao Qinxiang eight years, Zhu Yufu, seven years, and Xu Guang, five years.

Further trials took place in 2000. Tong Shidong, from Hunan province, was sentenced to ten years in prison on January 3, after having been in detention for almost half a year. On the same day, Liao Shihua a CDP member who had helped Tong Shidong edit a non-official publication at Hunan University in Changsha, received a six-year prison sentence. Liu Shizun, a CDP member from Liaoning province, who took over the leadership of the CDP Beijing-Tianjin branch after Gao Hongming and Zha Jianguo were taken into custody, was sentenced to six years in prison on February 16. Zhu Zhengming, one of the main organizers of the CDP Zhejiang preparatory committee, was tried on March 17 and given a ten-year prison sentence on April 29, 2000. On July 7, Xiao Shichang and Chen Zhonghe, core members of the CDP Wuhan chapter, were sentenced respectively to five and a half and seven year prison terms. All were charged with subversion. Other members of the Wuhan chapter were also tried but received lighter sentences.

For all practical purposes, CDP activities had been silenced by January 2000. In December 1999, foreign news organizations had received a lengthy declaration in which the CDP's program for the new millennium was set out.105 But from January onwards, to the extent that there were pamphlets or protests, they were mainly issued by CDP members living abroad. The resistance was effectively broken. One of the few remaining active members, He Depu, was stripped of his position at the Academy of Social Sciences on March 28, 2000 and as of this writing remains under close surveillance .106

42 Zhonghua renmin gongheguo guowuyuan ling di erbai wushi hao (Order of the State Council of the People's Republic of China No. 250).

43 The Fazhi ribao (Legal Daily) published the rules when they were finally mentioned in the press on November 3, 1998.

44 "China: Freedom of Association Regulated Away," Human Rights in China, 1999, in Three Freedoms Project,

45 Ibid.

46 "Hangzhou Police Detain Dissident, Two Others Go Missing," Agence France Presse, November 4, 1998.

47 Xu apparently took the lead in the Beijing region after an attempt to found the CDP Beijing Preparatory Committee by Ren Wanding failed when Ren was warned by the police not to proceed.

48 "Di yi hao wengao" (Proclamation No. 1) in Xiao cankao, November 11, 1998. Proclamation No. 1 also planned to invite the "six gentlemen Sun Weibang, Chen Ziming, Liu Xiaobo, Zhang Jingsheng, Hu Shigen and Chen Lantao" to join the preparatory work "at a time of their convenience" ... at the time of proclamation No. 1, all six were in prison or under strict surveillance. Apart from them, the proclamation invited some seventy dissidents and other outspoken people residing abroad, such as Wang Dan, Wei Jingsheng, Liu Qing, Hu Ping, Chai Ling and Wu'er Kaixi to return to China and join the preparatory work. Some 20 others, such as Bao Tong, Wu Zuguang, Bao Zunxin, Chen Yizi and Fang Lizhi would be asked to become "advisors."

49 Some CDP documents refer to "non-violence" (fei baoli) instead of "peace" (heping).

50 Zhongguo minzhu dang choubei weiyuanhui zhuce Gonggao (Statement of Registration of the CDP National Preparatory Committee), November 10, 1998. The document gives Hangzhou-based Wu Yilong as the main contact person. The document points to certain discrepancies among the dissidents in a footnote which says that "the "First CDP National Congress Preparatory Work Group" which is established under the CDP National Preparatory Committee "is to be decided by vote of majority " by people who signed the "Statement of Registration of the CDP National Preparatory Committee." Xu Wenli and Liu Shizun are among the signatories of that document, but not Gao Hongming, Zha Jianguo, Liu Shizun and Zhang Hui.

51 Beijing zhi chun (Beijing Spring), February 1999, p. 11.

52 "Police Detain Six CDP Members," Agence France Presse, November 21, 1998.

53 Li Peng quoted by Xinhua News Agency, December 1, 1998, from an interview in Handelsblatt, November 23, 1998.

54 The others were Li Guotao, Yao Zhenxian, Li Li, and Xie Wanjun. Yao and Xie were later released and are now living in exile in the USA.

55 Beijing shi renmin jiancha yuan fenyuan qisu shu (98) di 609 hao (Beijing City People's Procuratorate Branch Indictment (98) No. 609), Beijing, December 9, 1998. Article 105 (1) reads "whoever organizes, plots, or acts to subvert the political power of the state and overthrow the socialist system, the ringleaders or those whose crimes are grave are to be sentenced to life imprisonment, or not less than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment; active participants are to be sentenced from not less than three years to not more than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment; other participants are to be sentenced to not more than three years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights." Article 106 reads "whoever colludes with institutions, organizations, or individuals outside the country and commits crimes stipulated in Articles 103, 104, and 105 of this chapter are to be heavily punished according to the stipulations in the articles." This refers to sentences up to life imprisonment for "splittism and destroying national unity" (Art. 103), sentences up to life imprisonment for "armed rebellion" (Art. 104). Article 66 reads: "Criminal elements endangering state security who, at any time after their punishment has been completely executed or they have received a pardon, commit another crime endangering state security are all to be treated as recidivists." Recidivists, according to Article 65 of the PRC Penal Code, "shall be given a heavier punishment." However, commission of a crime through negligence is an exception.

56 Bianhu Ci (Defense) by Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm, Beijing, December 21, 1998.

57 "Xu Wenli an fating shenpan jilu"(The Case of Xu Wenli, Records of a Trial in Court) in: Beijing zhi chun (Beijing Spring), February 1999. The notes were taken by Xu Wenli's wife, He Xintong.

58 Ibid.

59 "Dissidents `Moved To Harsh Prisons'," South China Morning Post, January 15, 1999.

60 Beijing zhi chun (Beijing Spring) February 1999, p. 8, 9. According to court material regarding Wang Ce's case, Wang Ce is accused of having given U.S.$1,000 to Wang Youcai.

61 Zhejiang sheng Hangzhou shi zhongji renmin fayuan xingshi panjueshu (1998) hang fa xing chu zi di 183 hao (Zhejiang Province Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court Criminal Case Sentence (1998 no. 183)).

62 "Dissidents Released After Qin Yongmin's Sentencing: Brother," Agence France Presse, 22 December 1998.

63 "Dissidents `Moved To Harsh Prisons'," South China Morning Post, January 15, 1999.

64 U.S. Department of State, daily press briefing, December 22, 1998.

65 "International chorus of protest at jailing of Chinese dissidents," Agence France Presse, December 22, 1998.

66 "Zai jinian dang de shiyi jie sanzhong quanhui zhaokai ershi zhounian dahui shang de jianghua" (Speech At The Grand Meeting To Commemorate The Twentieth Anniversary Of The Third Plenum Of The Eleventh Central Committee Of The Party), Renmin ribao (People's Daily) Overseas Edition, December 19, 1998.

67 "Jiang Zemin yu quanguo zhengfa gongzuo huiyi daibiao zuotan shi zhichu dang zheng lingdao yao chengdanqi weihu wending de zhengzhi zeren, zhengfa jiguan yao quebao gaige kaifang jianshe shunli jinxing." (Jiang Zemin, During A Session At The National Meeting For Political And Legal Work, Points Out That The Leaders Of The Party And The Government Must Be Held Responsible For The Protection Of Stability; The Government And Legal Departments Must Guarantee The Smooth Implementation Of Reform And Open Door), Renmin ribao (People's Daily) December 23, 1998, speech to delegates of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

68 Congressional Testimony by Yao Zhenxian, Federal Document Clearing House, January 1, 1999.

69 Radio Free Asia, May 8, 1999.

70 "Zhu Zhengming - jueshi ganyan" (Zhu Zhengming - Reflections On A Hungerstrike, March 18, 1999), Xiao cankao, April 10, 1999,

71 Ibid.

72 "Minzhudang liaoning zhibu haozhao chunjie qijian daui "liu si" sinanzhe jiashu jinxing weiwen" (CDP Liaoning Branch Calls On Comforting, During The Spring Festival, The Families Of Those Who Were Killed And Wounded on "June 4") in Xiao cankao, February 10, 1999.

73 Radio Free Asia, February 24, 1999. Full text of the proposal was published in "Zhongguo minzhudang quanguo choubeihui guanyu xiugai xianfa de shixiang jianyi," (Ten Suggestions on the Revision of the Constitution by the CDP National Preparatory Committee), Xiao cankao, March 5, 1999.

74 Ming Pao, March 8, 1999 . The two men were the same who in 1998 had founded the 1,000 member strong Pine Tree Literature Association (Songshan wenxue hui), an informal discussion group.

75 "China Detains Activist As Opposition Party Prepares To Hold Forum," Agence France Presse, February 7, 1999.

76 "Zhongguo gong'an bumen jinggao zhongguo minzhu dang chengyuan tingzhi huodong," (Chinese Public Security Departments Warn CDP Members To Stop Activities), Radio Free Asia, February 9, 1999.

77 "Xi'an zhongguo minzhudang chengyuan fu shen bei xianhou chuanxun liang ci," ("Xi'an CDP Member Summoned For Interrogation Twice In A Row"), Radio Free Asia, February 10, 1999.

78 Press release issued by the CDP Zhejiang Preparatory Committee on February 20, 1999.

79 "Police Break Up China Democracy Party Meeting, Detain Members," Associated Press, March 14, 1999.

80 "Zhongguo minzhudang zhejiang choubeihui biaoshi jiang dingqu juxing huiyi" (The CDP Hangzhou Preparatory Committee Expresses It Will Hold Fixed Meetings), Radio Free Asia, March 19, 1999.

81 "Zhongguo yiyi renshi xinwen" (China Dissident News), Radio Free Asia, March 21, 1999.

82 "Police Urged to Implement Laws Strictly," China Daily March 29, 1999.

83 "China Jails Gansu Labour Activists For Up To 10 Yrs," Associated Press, July 6, 1999.

84 Wang Ce was charged under Articles 322, 107, 69 and 56 of the criminal law. Article 69 deals with recidivism, 56 with endangering state security. (Zhejiang Province Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court Criminal Case Sentence (1999 1))

85 Zhejiang sheng Hangzhou shi zhongji renmin fayuan xingshi panjueshu (1999) hang chu zi di yi hao (Zhejiang Province Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court Criminal Case Sentence (1999 1)). Wang's punishment for illegal border crossing was one year and a fine of RMB5,000 (U.S.$610), punishment for his "aiding people who carry out activities harming national security" was four years in prison and two years deprivation of political rights. The sentences were to run concurrently. Article 322 of the Penal Code deals with "violating the regulations concerning the management of national boundaries," which carry a maximum penalty of 1 year. Article 107, which deals with "funding of domestic organizations or ... individuals by ... overseas organizations" in violation of Articles 102 - 105 which concerning national security, entails prison terms up to five years, but up to life when their "situation is grave." Article 69 deals with multiple crimes and Article 56 imposes the sanction of "deprivation of political rights" to those who commit crimes endangering state security.

86 Renmin ribao (People's Daily), May 17, 1999. The "fifty days" refer to the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

87 "Zhongguo minzhudang beijing dangbu `gao beijing shimin shu'" (CDP Beijing Branch "Appeal to the Citizens of Beijing") in Xiao cankao, May 20, 1999.

88 Beijing shi renmin jianchayuan di yi fenyuan - qisu shu (Beijing City People's Procuratorate Number One Branch - Indictment (1999) no. 89.), Beijing, July 5, 1999.

89 Ibid.

90 "Zhongguo minzhudangren He Depu yaoqiu pangting Zha Jianguo Gao Hongming shenpan bei ju ji" ("Record Of CDP Member He Depu Asking To Attend The Trial Of Zha Jianguo And Gao Hongming And Being Refused") in Xiao cankao, August 25, 1999.

91 "Chinese Court Rejects Appeals Of Two Dissidents," Associated Press, September 17, 1999.

92 "Four Opposition Party Members Detained In Southwest China," Agence France Presse, July 8, 1999.

93 "Democracy Fighter Jailed For 12 Years" South China Morning Post, August 6, 1999.

94 "Chinese Dissident Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison For Subversion," Associated Press, July 15, 1999.

95 "Chinese Prosecutors Investigating Prominent Dissident," Associated Press, December 9, 1998.

96 "Chinese Dissident Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison For Subversion," Associated Press, August 6, 1999.

97 Open letter by Chen Mingxian, August 16, 1999. Human Rights Watch refers to the magazine issued by Qin Yongmin

98 "Zhongguo minzhudang mieshi fengkuang zhenya, jixu xiang zhonggong yi dang ducai zhanzheng faqi tiaozhan" (The CDP Disregards Wild Suppression, Goes On to Challenge the One Party Dictatorship of the CCP" in Xiao cankao, July 5, 1999.

99 The number and name of the various branches differs. The only organization, which consistently calls itself a "branch" (dangbu), was the "Beijing-Tianjin Branch." In provinces such as Liaoning and Hebei, party chapters were sometimes described as "branches" sometimes as "preparatory committees."

100 Yanzheng shengming (Solemn Declaration), signed by the China National Preparatory Committee, dated October 1, 1999, on file at Human Rights Watch.

101 "Zhejiang zhongguo minzhudang fuzeren Nie Minzhi `guoqing' bei bu" (Zhejiang CDP Leader Nie Minzhi Detained During `National Day') in Xiao cankao, October 1, 1999.

102 A copy of the letter is on file at Human Rights Watch.

103 "Hangzhou fayuan shenpan minzhudangren Wu Yilong, Zhu Yufu, Mao Qingxiang he Xu Guang" (Hangzhou Court Sentences CDP Members Wu Yilong, Zhu Yufu, Mao Qingxiang And Xu Guang), Xiao cankao, October 25, 1999.

104 Ibid.

105 "Chinese Dissidents Break Silence With Call For Democratic Change," Associated Press, December 24, 1999. The full text of the declaration was posted on the Internet. See "Zhongguo minzhudang yingjie xin shiji xuanyan" (Proclamation of the CDP Welcoming the New Century) in Xiao cankao, December 2, 1999.

106 Letter written by He Depu protesting his resignation, dated March 28, 2000. The CASS said that "Considering the assessment that He Depu's work over the years 1998 and 1999 was not up to standard, it is decided that he is fired in accordance with the regulations of the personnel bureau and the regulations of our work unit and after study by the office of the director of the academy. The letter is on file at Human Rights Watch.

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