Jittery China Arrests Activists Before 1989 Anniversary

IN the latest in a series of arrests of prominent dissidents, Chinese police took Wang Dan, a top student leader of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, into custody yesterday, a family member said.

At least five dissidents have now been detained as Beijing reacts to a resurgence in political activism ahead of the June 4 sixth anniversary of its military crackdown.

Mr. Wang said the number of police following him had increased to 10 since a petition demanding more tolerance and freedom was released last week.

The petition, sent to Chinese President Jiang Zemin and legislature chairman Qiao Shi, asked Beijing to mark this year's United Nations Year of Tolerance by reconsidering its claim that the 1989 protests were an antigovernment riot.

Three police officers took Wang from his Beijing home yesterday afternoon, said a family member contacted by telephone.

Human Rights in China, a New York-based group, said other activists detained include Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident; Huang Xiang, a poet and activist; his wife, Zhang Ling; Deng Huanwu; and veteran activist Wang Xizhe.

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