The Communist party in China was dealing with unemployment and economic difficulties in december 1998; this was compounded by the upcoming 10th anniversary of Tiananmen Square as well as the 50th anniversary of communist rule over China. therefor, the government was trying to exert control over democracy and labor activists. three of China's most prominent activists, Xu Wenli, Qin Yongmin, and Wang Youcai, were given heavy sentences in december 1998 for trying to organize the China Democracy Party. Another party targeted was the China Democratic Justice Party which is set up to unite dissidents overseas and in China.
12/27/98- labor activist Zhang Shanguang tried and sentenced in China for telling a US government-funded radio network about farmers' protests.
12/29/98- Zhang Lin and Wei Quanbao, two US-based China dissidents, tried to sneak back into China but were caught and immediately sentenced to three years of forced labor. Zhang and Wei were identified as members of the China Democratic Justice Party.