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Chinese Environmental Activist Escapes to SE Asia

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 00/10/20; October 20, 2000.]

WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (AFP) - A prominent Chinese dissident who has savaged Beijing's industrial policies said in a radio interview broadcast Thursday he had escaped his homeland and was in hiding in Southeast Asia.

Peng Ming, 43, founder of the China Development Union, an environmental research group, was arrested last year and served 18 months in a labour camp.

He was released in August but later fled, believing he faced another detention.

Peng said in the interview, conducted in Mandarin Chinese by Radio Free Asia, that his organisation, which claims a membership of 7,000 people, would thrive in his absence.

"The China Development Union has been silence but not eliminated," he said.

"...We have changed our method of operation, we are getting stronger and stronger."

Peng refused to give exact details of his location, but urged Chinese authorities in the interview not to punish his family or friends for his flight.

The China Development Union is an intellectual and environmental group which claims that it is above partisan politics.

In his most well known work "The Fourth Landmark" published in Hong Kong two years ago, Peng argued that China's industrialisation policies over the past half century would cause "enormous" environmental disasters.

He advocated an alternative policy suited to China's vast population and limited resources.

Radio Free Asia, which is based in Washington, was established in 1996 as a private corporation funded by Congress to broadcast to China, Tibet, Vietnam, Myanmar, North Korea, Laos and Cambodia.


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