A NEW group of intellectuals has started a signature campaign for an immediate end to police harassment of former student leader Wang Dan. Signatories to the appeal, which will be sent to National People's Congress Chairman Qiao Shi, include internationally known men of letters Yang Xianyi and Wu Zuguang. It called on the authorities to ensure that Mr Wang be treated 'according to rational principles and within the law'. On Monday, Mr Wang filed a lawsuit with the Beijing Intermediate Court alleging severe breach of his human rights as a result of police harassment and surveillance. Three days later, 22 famous dissidents drew up an open letter urging Chinese citizens and overseas observers to increase monitoring over human rights violations in the country. The second petition containing signatures from Mr Yang and Mr Wu is seen as a sign that the movement has spread to more sectors of the intelligentsia. 'I just want the authorities to handle Wang Dan in accordance with the law,' said Mr Yang, a well-known translator who earlier this year was awarded an honorary doctorate by a university in Hong Kong. Speaking in Beijing, Mr Wang said the 'usual' number of police and plain-clothes security personnel were stationed outside his apartment. They included one officer who on Wednesday had reportedly threatened to beat him to death. 'Originally, I planned to go to the provinces, but now I do not think I can go out to buy a plane or railway ticket,' he said. Mr Wang was still writing articles for the Hong Kong media. He said the authorities had not prevented him from doing so partly because, at the request of the media, he had been writing about 'soft and non-political' subjects. Yesterday, the New York-based Human Rights Watch/Asia condemned threats by police to Mr Wang after the dissident filed his suit against them. It urged world governments, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights and the international business community to condemn the threats.