China announced Tuesday at least 15 new arrests in the nationwide crackdown on democracy movement activists, and police in Shanghai said they were investigating whether an explosion aboard a train that killed 24 people was an act of sabotage.
Two American academics were expelled after they were accused of participating in student-led protests for democratic reforms held in Tianjin, 65 miles southeast of Beijing, U.S. Embassy sources said. They sources did not disclose the names of the expelled Americans. They were expected to leave China Tuesday.The two, a female student and a male foreign expert affiliated with Nankai University, were the first U.S. citizens expelled for joining protests, although two American journalists were thrown out June 14 for violating martial law restrictions on news gathering in Beijing.
Western diplomats, meanwhile, said 30 to 100 leading intellectuals associated with the democracy movement or ousted moderate Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang were being sought for arrest, but at least five of them had escaped from China.
"These are key people. Of course, the lists go beyond these," said one diplomat.
Chinese and diplomatic sources in Hong Kong identified two of the intellectuals as Wan Runnan, an engineer and head of the Stone Corp., the nation's first privately run computer company; and Yan Jiaqi, a one-time adviser to Zhao.
The sources said the pair had traveled by an "underground" route to Hong Kong. Wan flew to the United States and Yan went to France, they said.
Hong Kong student sources said other fugitive dissidents had also evaded arrest and fled China, including Wu'er Kaixi, a top leader of the 22-day occupation of Tiananmen Square by students who were swept from the plaza by the brutal June 3 army assault on central Beijing.
The onslaught ignited a citywide uprising by tens of thousands of citizens that the government has labeled a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" by "criminals" and "thugs" aimed at its overthrow.
Officials say 300 people died, about half of them soldiers. Western diplomats Tuesday endorsed unofficial estimates that thousands were killed.
The official Xinhua News Agency said 24 people died and 11 were injured by a dynamite blast aboard a passenger train outside Shanghai late Monday.
Dynamite exploded in a toilet of a third-class car of the train, which was bound from Hangzhou to Shanghai, said Xinhua.
A spokesman for the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, reached by telephone, said police were investigating whether the blast was an act of sabotage.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials said at least 11 American missionaries had their passports seized and were told to leave China by Friday after being detained in the southwestern city of Kunming for distributing religious literature.
The missionaries are affiliated with the Litchfield, Ill.-based Latter Rein Ministry. They were expected to depart for home Tuesday or Wednesday, they said.