D.C. OFFICE OF FREE CHINA MOVEMENT
1319 18TH ST., NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
For Immediate Release
Date: December 24, 2000
Contact: Timothy Cooper
Phone: 202-244-9479/ 202-213-3442
Fax: E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FAMILY MEMBER OF FREE CHINA MOVEMENT LEADER ARRESTED BY CHINESE GOVERNMENT;
(Dissidents call on World Community to Protest
Human Rights Conditions in China)
Washington, D.C.-- Ms. Sharong Lian, sister of well-known dissident
the Free China Movement Lian Shengde, was arrested on Dec 19th at Shuangliu
International airport moments before she was to board a plane to Hong Kong.
Mr. Lian's sister was attempting to travel to the United States for a year in
order to help Mr. Lian's wife recover from a serious illness. After obtaining
a passport from a travel agency by changing the writing of her Chinese
character name, but by keeping the same Romantic spelling on the passport,
she was detained for 24 hours before being permitted to contact her parents.
Since then, she has been held in Yi Guanmiao jail.
Chinese authorities seized all of Ms. Lian's personal belongings, including
over a $1000 in cash and an address book. Chinese police deny confiscating
According to Mr. Lian, the Chinese government has been employing a duel
strategy to silence overseas dissidents in recent years. In a few of the most
famous cases, including Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan, the government used them
as bargaining chips in bilateral relations with the US government. For
instance, their family members were allowed to leave China without incident.
But in the cases of less well-known dissident leaders, who are still actively
opposing the Chinese regime, the government has employed decidedly harsher
tactics, including intimidation of family members and the denial of passports
Earlier this year, the Chinese government refused to grant Mr. Lian's
their passport applications so that they could visit their newborn grandson
in America. While arguing with Public Security Bureau officials in Beijing
about the passport application denial, Mr. Lian's father was threatened with
"The Free China Movement-- as should the world-- condemns in no uncertain
terms the Chinese government's arrest and detention of Ms. Sharong Lian,"
declared Timothy Cooper, international director of the Free China Movement.
"By its actions, Beijing sends a strong and troubling signal to the entire
international community. It confirms, once again, that it intends to travel
down the road of human rights oppression, rather than go the path less well
traveled toward freedom for its own people," concluded Cooper.
"Beijing hopes to weave a web of distrust and discontent among
dissident leaders by employing a disturbing strategy of using a few famous
dissident leaders as bargaining chips in bilateral negotiations, while
treating harshly family members of less well known dissident leaders, thereby
hoping to sow division in the overseas community. Their tactics will never
succeed," stated Richard Long, leader of Free China Movement and Chinese VIP
"China's strategy of repression becomes more ruthless every day," stated
Shengde Lian, executive director of the Free China Movement and publisher of
Chinese VIP Reference. "Though I feel my sister's pain, and sympathize with
her plight, I will not rest until the people of China have been freed of such
a government. I therefore call for the immediate release of Sharong Lian, and
for the world community to lodge the strongest possible diplomatic protests
against the Chinese government. Will this wave of oppression never end?"
asked Mr. Lian.
Mr. Shengde Lian was the Chair of Autonomous Federation of Universities
Outside Beijing in Tian An Men Square in 1989. He was arrested immediately
after the June 4th massacre and spent about two years in Qing Chen Prison in
the northern Suburb of Beijing. He was released in January 1991 after strong
international pressure. Purchasing a Tibetan passport, Mr. Lian escaped to
the United States in 1994. A documentary about Mr. Lian's life entitled
"Freedom Fighter" was released last month and will be shown at the Open Forum
by State Department on February 14, 2001. He has since become the executive
director of the Free China Movement.
Mr. Lian's passport was also confiscated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington
DC when he tried to renew it in June 2000. For more information, please
contact Shengde Lian at: (202) 256-2925.