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Dissident group plans to monitor China's rulers

Dissidents planning to form an independent labor party in China said Saturday that their group would simply monitor the ruling Communist Party instead of seeking to drive it from power.

Organizers of the China Labor Party said the group would expel any members who obtained government positions, according to a statement received by foreign news agencies in Beijing.

Plans for the party have emerged several weeks into a crackdown on dissent that has resulted in lengthy prison terms for leaders of a would-be opposition group called the China Democracy Party, who were accused of attempting to subvert state power.

Organizers of the new China Labor Party said they planned to register their group with the government April 19.

"If the authorities refuse to treat our application in a lawful manner, I will radically commit suicide in order to express my desperate anger and protest," read the statement, signed by a dissident named Li Yongning.

Chinese law requires all organizations to be registered with the government, although applications by dissidents usually are rejected.

Attempts to register the China Democracy Party in many provinces and cities failed, and dozens of those associated with the group have been detained in the government's harshest crackdown on dissent in three years.

The China Labor Party statement said the group would lobby the government to re-register all bank accounts in order to root out illegal accounts used to embezzle public money.

It also said the government should halt state-owned enterprise reforms while it sets up a mechanism for public oversight of the restructuring process.

For the sake of the urban poor, many of whom have lost their jobs due to government economic reforms, it demanded that the government provide a minimum living allowance and ensure enough income for food, housing and medical treatment.