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Dissident detained in China after trying to register party

SHARE Dissident detained in China after trying to register party

Chinese police detained a democracy activist Monday who was trying to set up an opposition political party - the latest dissident rounded up during President Clinton's visit to China.

Plainclothes police showed up at Wang Youcai's home in eastern Hangzhou city Monday afternoon and took him away three hours later, according to dissident groups in the United States and Hong Kong.Having been turned away by officials Friday, Wang had planned to try again Monday to register his China Democracy Party with provincial authorities, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Hu-man Rights and Democratic Movement said.

The application marked the first time Chinese dissidents have openly tried to gain government approval for an opposition party, the Washington-based Free China Movement reported.

Wang, a student leader in the democracy demonstrations in Ti-an-an-men Square in 1989, was at least the sixth dissident taken into custody since Wednesday.

Wang spent 21/2 years in prison for helping lead the 1989 protests and has had repeated run-ins with police ever since.

His detention came as Clinton left Beijing for Shanghai, China's financial center. Clinton took up the previous arrests with President Jiang Zemin, but Jiang afterward defended the police action as important for security.

In China, Clinton has emphasized the need for the government to allow more freedom. However, he has refused appeals by Chinese democracy and human rights campaigners to meet with a dissident.

In the latest such appeal, 125 Chinese dissidents called on Clinton to meet former Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who was ousted by party elders for resisting the 1989 military crackdown.

Zhao has lived under house arrest since being purged nine years ago and remains a potent symbol of a more tolerant era in Chinese politics. Last week, he reportedly sent party leaders a letter urging a reassessment of the protests.

In an open letter released Monday, the 125 dissidents said Zhao would have pushed democratic reforms together with economic ones and in the process corruption and unemployment would have been less severe.

Four of the six dissidents detained in the past week were arrested in Xi'an, Clinton's first stop, and released after the president left.