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Democracy Backers Sentenced; Rights Group Disputes Charges

January 04, 1999|Associated Press

BEIJING — Chinese police have sentenced two members of a would-be opposition political party to nine months of detention on what a rights group called fabricated charges.

Han Lifa and Cai Guihua are the latest members of the nascent China Democracy Party to be imprisoned in the ruling Communist Party's broadest crackdown on dissent in three years.

Meanwhile, Wang Xizhe, a prominent Chinese dissident who was hunger striking to protest China's jailing of fellow democracy campaigners, has been released from a New York hospital. Friends say he vows to continue fasting.

Police in Shanghai notified Han's and Cai's families in late December of their detentions, two months after they were last seen in public, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China reported.

The information center said Chinese authorities made up false prostitution charges against the pair.

Han and Cai had held weekly discussion groups on such issues as human rights treaties, and police had warned them to stop, the information center reported.

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