Officials step up dissident pressure

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 November, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 November, 1993, 12:00am

BEIJING authorities have stepped up pressure on two groups of dissidents who gathered in the Chinese capital last week for a common strategy to fight for human rights, a dissident source said yesterday.

The dissident, who was not named for security reasons, said Zheng Xuguang, a 1989 student leader, was believed to be still being held by Beijing police after he was taken away from a Beijing hotel on Saturday.

It is understood that the Beijing police were also looking for another dissident, Ma Shaohua, who came from Xi'an with Zheng to the capital last week.

The pair held discussions with a group of dissidents who drafted and released the ''peace charter'' this month.

Two participants to the peace charter move - Qin Yongmin of Wuhan and Yang Zhou of Shanghai - have since been arrested and remain in detention.

The source said most of the other seven organisers have been questioned by Beijing police in the past fortnight.

At least one of them was held again for more than 16 hours on Saturday by police seeking information about last week's meeting between the two groups, the source said.

Dissidents said they had no idea of what action the Chinese authorities might take on the dissidents.

''I don't know what excuses they could have to send us into jail. What we have done so far has been legal,'' a dissident said.

The increased pressure on the dissidents indicates the growing concern among the communist leadership over the pro-democracy calls by mainland dissidents.