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Chinese Dissident Leader Predicts China’s Communists Will Fall

April 18, 1990

PARIS (AP) _ Chinese dissident leader Chai Ling said Wednesday that resistance to China’s Communist rulers is growing in her homeland, and she predicted it will lead to the fall of the hard-line leadership.

Appearing at her first news conference since surfacing in Paris two weeks ago, Chai held a placard with messages written to China’s leaders by opponents.

″Not even his own relatives will help him,″ said the message to Prime Minister Li Peng.

Chai was a leader of last spring’s pro-democracy movement in China, which was crushed by a military crackdown launched the night of June 3. After the crackdown, she spent 10 months on the run in China. Chai and her husband, Feng Congde, reached France this month.

An underground movement against the Beijing government is gaining strength in China, Chai told reporters.

″Even before we left Tiananmen Square, we thought there might be a period of terror,″ she said. ″Some groups had already formed before the massacre. We have been helped not by one group but by several groups that are everywhere and growing stronger.″

She gave no details of how she escaped China but said those who helped her included soldiers and Communist Party members.

Animated and engaging, the diminutive Chai waved to the crowded press gallery and smiled as the news conference began.

A badge of the Goddess of Democracy, the statue raised by the demonstrators in Beijing last year, was pinned to her red sweater.

During 10 months on the run, ″I noticed that the feelings we felt in Beijing have spread throughout the country,″ Chai said.

″Resistance has taken many forms - passive forms like silence, but more active forms, also. People were very active in helping us escape.″

Chai helped organize the protest campaign, which was suppressed when soldiers shot their way into central Beijing and drove student protesters from the city’s Tiananmen Square. Hundreds of people were killed.

She and Feng, who have applied for political asylum in France, were on a wanted list of 21 student leaders sought by the Chinese Communist authorities.

Chai recalled that in 1982, she was chosen by the Young Communists League as one of 200 model students.

″How did it come about that I have been listed as No. 4 of the 21 most wanted criminals?″ she said. ″I haven’t stolen, I haven’t killed, I obviously haven’t raped anybody. How did I become a criminal?″

″The old men running the government did not take into account the changes of the last 10 years,″ she said. ″Our generation represents conscience and courage. When they (the government) sent the tanks after us, they never would have thought that in front of them there were people so fearless.″

Her eyes grew moist as she described her taste of freedom in Paris.

″I have felt freedom before, during those few days in the square. During my escape I lost it, but we found it again,″ she said. ″I think about my friends... We would want them to be here.″

The emergence of Chai and Feng has given a boost to the Federation for Democracy in China, a Paris-based dissident group.

On Tuesday, the federation and the news magazine Actuel announced plans for rock concerts in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Prague and Sao Paulo on June 3 to commemorate the Chinese military crackdown.

The front and the magazine are also among the sponsors of ″A Boat for China,″ which is sending a radio ship to the Far East to transmit pro- democracy broadcasts to China.

Chai was among the three most prominent student leaders of last year’s demonstrations. One leader, Wu’er Kaixi, fled to France shortly after the crackdown. The other, Wang Dan, was captured in Beijing.