Claims of stranded dissidents rejected

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 May, 1997, 12:00am

The group arranging for stranded dissidents to leave the territory yesterday hit out at claims that they had been denied a helping hand.

Of 50 dissidents awaiting resettlement in January, 21 had gone to America or Europe and another 20 would be leaving shortly, according to the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China.

Alliance spokesman Cheung Man-kwong said most of the stranded would have left by mid-June.

The ones who remained included those who had declined offers from European countries and insisted on going to America or Canada.

'We are offering humanitarian assistance, not emigration services,' said a source.

The alliance said of the eight dissidents who sent an ultimatum to Governor Chris Patten last Saturday - demanding a reply on when they could leave - two had refused resettlement offers from European countries, five had uncertified dissident identities and the other one had arranged to leave shortly.

Mr Patten said dissidents had ways apart from threats or ultimatums to press for resettlement.

'I hope the one or two people who sent the ultimatum will recognise that the way to deal with these sensitive and complicated issues isn't by making threats or by delivering the so-called ultimatum,' he said.