Han seeking direct access

DISSIDENT unionist Han Dongfang wants to talk to the Chinese authorities about conditions for his return to the mainland, saying it would be counter-productive to negotiate through the media.

In a statement issued yesterday, he said he did not want to discuss his case as if it was a ''diplomatic dispute''.

''I don't want to exchange information with the Chinese Government through newspapers and television stations. This is not the best way. It will merely deepen misunderstanding and increase the difficulty of getting the problem solved,'' he said.

Mr Han said he preferred not to stir up fresh controversy until it was clear there was no chance of dialogue with Beijing.

In what appeared to be an attempt to be conciliatory, the dissident said: ''I will not give up any opportunity to remove the misunderstanding. I want to do my best for dialogue and conciliation.'' Friends said Mr Han would issue a full statement later in response to China's official statement on Tuesday in which tough conditions were listed for his return to the mainland.

Mr Han's passport was cancelled when he was thrown out of China on his return from the United States. He was accused of subversive activities.

His friends said he was not surprised about the harsh conditions but wanted more time to think about what to do next.

A local deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) Elsie Leung Oi-sie, who has passed on a letter from Mr Han to the NPC chairman, Qiao Shi, said yesterday Mr Han ought to act in accordance with the law and the conditions before he would be allowed back to China.

There is great difference between the Chinese law and that of Hong Kong as to the setting up of free labour unions, she said.

''I am still waiting for a reply but I think the letter will be similar to [the position of] the PSM [Public Security Ministry],'' she said.

Miss Leung said the conditions listed by the PSM were reasonable because Mr Han had stated his intention to form a free labour union very clearly.

''He said openly that he was to return to China to hold a free trade union, this is against the law. Any country will refuse to allow such people back,'' she said.