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17 Arrested at Chinese Universities : Government Purge Widens, Intellectuals Among New Targets

June 23, 1989|From United Press International

BEIJING — Police raided six Beijing university campuses today, arresting at least 17 teachers and students and searching for an equal number of others in the continuing nationwide hunt for fugitive democracy movement activists, Chinese sources said.

State-run television and radio said a prominent university lecturer was taken into custody but did not say when.

In a sign that authorities were extending the purge to the intelligentsia, Chinese sources said arrest warrants were issued for seven prominent intellectuals, one of whom escaped with his wife to Hong Kong.

Official media announced other arrests in the crackdown on dissent that has netted more than 2,000 suspects since the uprising by tens of thousands of Beijing citizens against the June 3 armor-backed military offensive that ended a 22-day occupation by students of the city's central Tian An Men Square.

Toll May Be 3,000

Officials say about 300 people, including 100 soldiers, died in the street battles, but unofficial reports place the death toll at 3,000.

Seven people were executed Thursday in Beijing for participating in the insurrection and three others Wednesday in Shanghai for torching a train during nationwide protests against the strike in the capital.

An unknown number of anti-government protesters were reported among 17 people executed Wednesday for crimes in the northeastern city of Jinan.

The government, meanwhile, escalated its accusations of foreign involvement in the student-led movement for democratic reforms, charging that the Nationalist Chinese government of Taiwan instigated unrest in hopes of toppling the mainland's Communist leadership.

The allegations were part of an official propaganda blitz aimed at convincing China's 1.2 billion people that the democracy movement was a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" by "thugs" and "criminals," justifying the army assault on Tian An Men Square and the crackdown on the largest anti-government protests in 40 years of Communist rule.

Armed Police

Chinese sources on Beijing campuses said police today seized four people from the Beijing Film Institute, 10 at the Beijing Normal College of Physical Culture, one from the Political Science and Law College and two at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages.

Those arrested were students and teachers, but the sources could provide no breakdown.

They said some police were armed and carried arrest warrants for 17 other people at the Political Science and Law College and the Beijing College of Aeronautics. Those suspects, however, were not at the institutions when officers arrived, the sources said.

Beijing television and national radio evening news broadcasts announced the arrest of Liu Xiaobo, a lecturer in the Chinese language department of Beijing Normal University.

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