Dissident to keep up fight

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 February, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 1995, 12:00am

PROMINENT dissident Chen Ziming, who has been under constant police harassment since his release from jail last May, said he would continue to voice his criticism through the media.

But he declined to confirm a report he was about to form an 'opposition group' with fellow activists in China.

Mr Chen was sentenced to 13 years in jail for being a 'black hand' or mastermind behind the 1989 democracy movement which led to the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

He was paroled last May after pressure was exerted on the Chinese authorities by foreign governments, mainly the United States.

The 42-year-old activist said he was not afraid to make his views on national policies public, despite the pressures he faces from police.

'If I was not afraid of that when I was in prison, there is nothing to be afraid of now when I am at home,' the dissident said yesterday.

He said even though he could not use his own name in publishing articles, there were other ways for him to spread his message.

Mr Chen has been under virtual house arrest since his release and has spent much of his time researching social issues.

The Hong Kong-based Ming Pao Daily News yesterday reported that Mr Chen, together with other pro-democracy activists on the mainland, would soon openly declare the formation of a group called the Constructive Political Opposition Faction.

The newspaper quoted Mr Chen as saying the group would not only offer criticism of the Communist Party and Government, but would also offer constructive views and suggestions for the country.

It said initially the group would focus on issues such as agriculture, economic development and banking.

Although the Chinese constitution guarantees its people the freedom of assembly and organisation, political parties or unions which do not toe the official line are banned and their members often arrested.

Mr Chen said yesterday that the presence of dissidents on the mainland was a fact, and the authorities should acknowledge that.

He said if a person wanted to express political views and participate in political activities, but was not a member of the Communist Party, then that person was considered a dissident by the Beijing Government.