China gives women their way

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The Independent Online
Peking (AP) - The Chinese have so greatly improved a much-contested site for a gathering in September of international women's groups that the meeting's organiser dropped its opposition yesterday.

For two months the meeting's leaders had complained that it lacked facilities and its distance, 30 miles from Peking, virtually barred them from the UN women's conference, being held at the same time in the capital.

Supatra Masdit, organiser of the meeting of non-governmental organisations, or NGO Forum, said the Chinese had made "much progress" since she visited in April. The forums have become a regular part of large UN conferences, allowing advocacy groups a chance to lobby international leaders.

Chinese organisers moved the forum to Huairou after they claimed the original venue, Workers' Stadium, developed structural problems. Many suspected the Chinese were trying to limit access by human rights and other groups whose views the leadership finds anathema.