A general strike in support of human rights in southern China was reported by a group of young Chinese who arrived here yesterday demanding a meeting with Peking's two top leaders.
The group of 28 Chinese from Yunnan Province unfurled a banner in snow-covered Teinanmen Square saying they would remain there until a meeting was arranged with Chairman Hua Kuo-feng or Vice-Chairman Teng Hsiao-ping.
In a leaflet they handed out, the group said that about 50,000 persons began a general strike Dec. 9 in Hsishuang Panna district to "resolutely oppose the local leaders who trampled on the human rights and respect of intellectual youth."
The demonstrators, who said they represented the 50,000 young strikers who were sent to Yunnan Province to do farm work after leaving high school, were gone from the Tienanmen Square by late evening. It was not known whether their demands had been met.
The demonstration here coincided with the appearance of a 29-page wall poster in Shanghai, China's second largest city, that demanded equality and human rights for the Chinese and quoted from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
The reported strike in Yunnan Province was regarded as a startling development by Western diplomats here.
The program under which the young strikers were sent to the countryside to do farm work after completing secondary school is to be phased out. The decision was made Dec. 10 by a national conference called to assess the program, encouraged by former party chairman Mao Tse-tung and his wife, Chiang Ching, a member of the now discredited Gang of Four.
The leaflet handed out to people in the square yesterday said that strikes harmed the economy, "but many years have gone by and we youth have suffered under intolerable conditions and have occupied the lowest position in society."
There was no indication if the strike was continuing or how many people took part.
The right to strike is contained in the national constitution adopted last March, but the Yunnan incident is the first to come to the notice of foreigners in recent years.