Hopes rise for activist release

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 July, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 July, 1994, 12:00am

SHANGHAI dissident Yang Zhou, who was taken away by police in early May, could be released soon, his wife said yesterday.

Li Guoping said that through her contact with the authorities, she was hopeful that she might be able to see her husband soon.

But there was still no word about other dissidents in Shanghai who have been held by police for more than two months without charge.

The family of war reparation activist Bao Ge said they had received no information from the authorities since his arrest, while the family of another activist, Wang Fucheng, said Shanghai police denied they had Wang in custody.

But the authorities appeared to be adopting a more lenient approach towards Yang, restoring the telephone line to his home yesterday.

The service was cut in April.

''Oh! I can't believe my ears . . . You are the first person to have got through on the telephone,'' Ms Li said yesterday.

''I had complained to the telephone company, but they said mine was an 'internal control' telephone under the Public Security authorities. There was nothing they could do,'' she said.

According to Ms Li, the police promised to contact her this week concerning her husband and she believed there might be some good news in store.

''I have spoken to some of my friends and they all said there were no reasons why they should still hold Yang Zhou,'' she said.

''June 4 is over, and July 4, too. I hope I don't have to wait until August 4 [for his release],'' she added.

Her optimism, she said, was partly based on the way the police had handled Yang's arrest.

''The day they came to take Yang away, they specially summoned me to the station for a chat and informed me that they had to deal with Yang Zhou and search my home . . . They even told me to let them know if I had any trouble at home while Yang was not here,'' she said.

Since Yang's arrest, Ms Li said there had been no information about what crime he had committed, except a confirmation note from the police saying Yang had been put in a ''shelter for investigation''.

Ms Li said Yang seemed to be in good health and she had been allowed to send him books and summer clothing.

Meanwhile, the Beijing Intermediate People's Court declined to comment on the trial of 14 activists which began last week, claiming the spokesman was not available.