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China May Free American Activist

Wed., Aug. 23, 1995

China is preparing to put activist Harry Wu on trial within the next day or two in what appears to be a carefully timed effort to clear up his case and set him free before the International Women’s Conference opens in Beijing, according to senior Clinton administration officials.

Wu, the Chinese-American who has crusaded against China’s use of prison labor, will be tried in Wuhan, apparently for offenses less than the espionage with which he has been charged. He was first detained last June after he attempted to sneak into China from Kazakhstan.

If Wu is set free, China’s action probably would provide first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with the rationale she needs to travel to Beijing for an international women’s conference, which begins next week. Republican leaders, human rights groups and Wu’s wife have all urged Hillary Clinton to refrain from traveling to China while Wu is still in jail.

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