Hangzhou Bans Pro-Reform March

Chinese authorities turn down an application to hold protests backing political reforms.
2010-12-01
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Chinese protest against Japan in southwest China's Chongqing municipality, Oct. 26, 2010.
Chinese protest against Japan in southwest China's Chongqing municipality, Oct. 26, 2010.
AFP

Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have turned down a request by political activists to stage a protest march calling for sweeping political reforms.

Wu Yilong, a member of the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP), said he had filed the application on Tuesday along with three fellow activists, many of whom have already served prison terms for their activities.

"Four of us went," Wu said, referring to himself, Zhu Yufu, Mao Qingxiang, and Wang Rongqing.

Two other activists, Chen Shuqing and Zhu Zhengming, also supported the application to stage a rally and march on Dec. 10 in support of political reform and jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.

"Dec. 10 is the Nobel Prize award ceremony," Wu said. "It is also International Human Rights Day."

He said the group was hoping for a major political breakthrough in the ranks of China's ruling Communist Party.

"They told us they would get back to us ... They called back the same evening ... and told me to go and have a chat with them," Wu said.

"When I got there they told me they wanted us to withdraw our application, but we refused."

"The application form ended up on the floor."

Unaware of application

An officer who answered the phone at the Hangzhou municipal police department security team said he was unaware of the application.

"I don't know about this, and I have no way of knowing where you're really calling from," he said.

"There is no [record] here."

Wu said his group had applied for the march to begin at noon on Dec. 10 at Zhejiang University and end in the square outside provincial government offices.

The purpose of the march was to call for reform to China's political system, he said.

Wang Rongqing said the group was also marching in protest of continued restrictions on their movements following the end of their prison sentences.

"We are being held under residential surveillance, but that hasn't been taken into account in the calculation of our sentences," he said.

Zhu Yufu said he had been denied even the right of household registration since his release from jail.

"Without a household registration, you can't do anything in China," said Zhu Yufu, who was fired from his job as a residential security guard on Tuesday.

"Chen Shuqing had his lawyer's license withdrawn by the authorities, even though he passed the exams."

Placards and banners

The activists had also been planning to carry placards which read "Congratulations to Liu Xiaobo on winning the Nobel Peace Prize," "Release Liu Xiaobo," and "Against Single Party Rule," Wu said.

Banners in support of Sichuan-based pro-democracy activist Liu Xianbin and the release of all Chinese prisoners of conscience would also have been carried.

The attempt by Chinese political activists to set up the CDP by applying for a permit from Hangzhou's Communist Party civil affairs bureau ended in December 1998 with the sentencing of three of the group's founders to lengthy jail terms.

Zhejiang dissident Wang Youcai, Wuhan-based Qin Yongmin, and Beijing-based Xu Wenli were sentenced respectively to 11, 12, and 13 years in prison on charges of “instigation to subvert state power."

Also sentenced were Sichuan-based Liu Xianbin, Beijing-based Zha Jianguo, and Hangzhou-based Zhu Yufu, Chen Shuqing, and Wu Yilong, all since released, though Liu has been re-detained.

Xu Wenli and Wang Youcai were exiled to the United States on "medical parole" on Dec. 24, 2002 and March 4, 2004 respectively.

The CDP, also known as the Democracy Party of China (DPC), held its first congress in August 2006 in New York.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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