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Activists in Vietnam Accuse China of Kidnapping Exiled Dissidents - 2002-07-26

Pro-democracy activists are accusing China of kidnapping three exiled dissidents from northern Vietnam. The three disappeared from Vietnam a month ago and have not been heard from since.

Chinese pro-democracy activists Wang Bingzhang, Yue Wu and Zhang Qi were reportedly on vacation in Vietnam when they last spoke to family and friends from near the Chinese border. That was June 26 and none of them have been heard from since.

But Friday, the U.S.-based China Democracy Party accused Chinese authorities of kidnapping the three in a cross-border raid. It said they are being held in a secret location inside China, but did not say where it got the information.

China has denied any knowledge of the three activists' disappearance. Vietnam's government issued a short statement Friday saying it had "no information about these people."

The United States Embassy in Hanoi said it has asked for help from both Vietnam and China in finding the missing dissidents but so far, to no avail.

The three exiles come from differing backgrounds. Mr. Yue was a labor leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, who fled soon after and now Lives in Paris. Mr. Wang has been in exile since 1979, after speaking out against the government as a medical student. He lives in the United States. Ms. Zhang fled China only two years ago and was given asylum in the United States.

It is unclear exactly what the three were doing in Vietnam. While family members described the trip as a vacation, the China Democracy Party said the three were meeting secretly in Hanoi with Chinese labor leaders.