- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2000

From combined dispatches

BEIJING China has deported three U.S. evangelists after detaining them in a roundup of underground Protestant worshippers in central China, a rights group reported yesterday.

The report of their release, however, was accompanied by news that dozens of the Chinese worshippers detained along with them have been sent to jail.

An additional 50 followers of secret Protestant fellowships were arrested in three Chinese provinces, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

The evangelists, Henry Chu, Sandee Lin and Patricia Lan, were put on planes Saturday in the coastal city of Shanghai, about 465 miles from where they were detained Aug. 23 in Henan province, the center reported.

Mr. Chu and Mrs. Lin, who are married, flew to Taiwan via Hong Kong, while Miss Lan flew to San Francisco, the center said. All three are reportedly residents of California.

They apparently arrived in China on Aug. 14, and were identified by the center as missionaries. During their detention, they were beaten, kicked and restrained by handcuffs so tight their hands were numb for days, the center said.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said a consular officer who attempted to see them in Henan was told they were released on Friday after being held for "activities incompatible with the tourist status under which they entered China."

Of the 127 Chinese held along with them, 70 have been transferred to a jail and will likely be charged for belonging to a cult, the center said.

Meanwhile, Chinese customs agents have seized 16,000 copies of a book of photographs of President Clinton because one picture showed him holding hands with the Dalai Lama, a company involved in the publishing said yesterday.

The confiscation is an extreme example of China's obsession with denying publicity to the exiled Tibetan leader, vilified for decades by the Chinese government and the target of a 4-year-old campaign to break his influence among Tibet's fervently Buddhist people.

China's Communist leaders routinely pressure foreign governments to shun the Dalai Lama. In deference to Beijing, he was not invited to the Millennium World Peace Summit this week, a gathering of religious leaders in New York.

The book, "The Clinton Years," contains more than 200 black-and-white photographs shot by Robert McNeely, Mr. Clinton's official photographer from 1992 to 1998. Among the images, one showed the Dalai Lama and Mr. Clinton at the White House on April 28, 1994.

The book was printed in Hong Kong and sent across the border to Shenzhen in southern China for binding, said a spokesman for Palace Press International, which arranged for the printing for the New York-based publisher, Callaway Editions.

Although 8,000 copies of the book had already been bound and shipped out of China, the second shipment of 16,000 was seized in early August, said the spokesman, who declined to give his name because of the sensitivities of the company's business in China.

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