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Women Conference / Ma Thida

Amnesty International Holds Protest in China
   HUAIROU, China (Reuter) - Amnesty International held a daring
   demonstration Thursday outside a session kicking off a decennial
   grassroots women's forum in China, displaying posters representing 12
   victims of human rights abuses. 
   About 15 to 20 activists of the London-based human rights group took
   part in Amnesty's unprecedented protest on Chinese soil, holding up
   posters and T-shirts bearing pictures and names of the women, who
   included two Chinese. 
   Police did not try to intervene, but a Chinese woman official with a
   megaphone said in English: ``No meeting here. Please go to Middle
   School Number One or the Global Tent.'' 
   Chinese authorities have designated the school parade ground as the
   official site for demonstrations during the Non Governmental
   Organizations (NGO) Forum on Women that ends on Sept. 8. 
   ``Amnesty International must face the issue of human rights violations
   against women in China,'' said Amnesty spokeswoman Anita Tiessen. ``In
   China, unofficial women's groups face harassment by authorities.'' 
   Among the 12 women and women's groups whose posters were displayed
   outside the plenary session of the world's largest women's meeting was
   Chinese journalist Gao Yu. 
   She was jailed last year for six years on charges of leaking state
   secrets in articles published in Hong Kong. 
   Gao, 51, whose reports in the independent Economics Weekly won her an
   international reputation in the mid-1980s, was arrested in October
   1993, just two days before she was to leave China to begin a
   journalism fellowship in the United States. She is reported to be in
   poor health. 
   The other Chinese woman was a Tibetan nun, Phuntsog Niydrou,
   imprisoned in 1989, apparently for activities linked to anti-Chinese
   unrest after the Himalayan region's exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama,
   won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. 
   She is serving a 17-year prison sentence, the longest of any female
   political dissident in China, for her activities and for smuggling out
   tapes and poems related to alleged torture in jail, Amnesty said. 
   The other 10 victims represented were Burma's Dr Ma Thida, all the
   women killed in Rwanda's genocide, 16-year-old Algerian Katia Bengana
   who was shot dead for refusing to wear a veil and Brazil's Edmeia Da
   Silza Euzebio. 
   Also named were Equatorial Guinea's Maria Teresa Akumu, Faye Copeland
   who faces the death penalty in the United States, rape victim Mirjana
   of Bosnia, Kuwait's Hamda Af'ad Yunis, Maria Moldovan of Romania and
   Turkey's Eren Keskin. 
   ``It is a peaceful demonstration,'' Tiessen said. ``We believe it is a
   kind of protest that is acceptable. It is the kind of activity you
   would expect at a women's conference.''