- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

SHANGHAI A veteran Chinese democracy advocate who was a signatory to a petition calling for the release of jailed activists has been arrested secretly on subversion charges, family members and a New York-based human rights group said yesterday.
Han Lifa, a prominent figure in China's pro-democracy movement, was arrested Dec. 26 in Shanghai, said family members who spoke to United Press International on condition of anonymity.
Mr. Han is the seventh member arrested from a group of 192 pro-democracy advocates who submitted a letter calling for more democratic reforms ahead of the 16th Communist Party Congress in November.
One relative reported learning of Mr. Han's arrest only this week after police contacted another relative and requested personal items, including a computer and political writings.
"We are concerned for his well-being. The authorities haven't told us what he is charged with and we have been prevented from visiting him," the first relative said. "We know they have him in custody, but that's all we know."
The Shanghai Public Security Bureau yesterday refused to provide any information about Mr. Han's arrest.
The New York-based Human Rights in China, which has been monitoring the growing number of arrests, called for the immediate release of the activists in a statement faxed to news organizations.
The petition that was sent to delegates attending November's party congress called on Beijing to overturn its verdict condemning the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners and urged the extension of local elections to the national level.

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