The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday called on China to reform its political system with resolve, wisdom and compassion, as well as to face historical facts concerning the Tiananmen Square Massacre and reflect on their significance for the development of democracy and human rights in China.
The council made the remarks in a statement marking the 23rd anniversary of Beijing’s crackdown on unarmed protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
Citing the “Taiwan experience,” the council said it was because of Taiwan’s acceptance of the 228 Massacre and the White Terror era that the power of reconciliation spurred the nation to progress and develop.
The council said China’s rapid development has been the source of many economic and social clashes, adding that China should seriously consider using democratic and peaceful means to resolve these issues, as well as pursuing social equality and human rights.
Re-evaluation of the Tiananmen event would be a critical index to measure China’s will to launch political reforms, it said.
Beijing still considers the Tiananmen incident a “counter-revolutionary rebellion” and has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or consider compensation for those killed.
“We hope Mainland China would respond to calls to protect human rights and establish a true civic society,” the council said, adding that such a move would be beneficial to cross-strait interactions.
To commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, a group of students from National Taiwan University, National Chengchih University, National Cheng Kung University and National Tsing Hua University were to hold a commemoration ceremony tonight at Liberty Square in Taipei.
Wang Dan (王丹), an exiled leader of the Tiananmen protests who is currently visiting the US, will deliver a recorded statement at the event, while another former student leader at Tiananmen, Wuer Kaixi, will give a speech in person.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday warned Taiwanese against indifference toward the Tiananman massacre.
Taiwanese indifference toward the event is of great concern, Su wrote on his Facebook page, in particular because undemocratic regimes still resort to similar means against their own people, like what is happening in Syria.
Because Taiwan and China are engaging in closer exchanges, Su said, Taiwan should care about more than just economic exchanges and pay closer attention to the development of freedom, democracy and human rights in China.
Separately yesterday, the Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT) condemned the Chinese government’s large-scale arrests of Tibetans in Tibet on the eve of the Tiananmen anniversary and asked President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to express concern over human rights issues in cross-strait talks — including one scheduled for later this month.
“Since March last year, as many as 38 people — monks and civilians alike — have expressed their strongest protest against China’s repression of religion and human rights in the form of self-immolation,” the TFOT said in a statement. “For the first time, two young Tibetans set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang Monastery in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, under tight surveillance of military and police forces, and the incident was followed by yet another self-immolation of a woman in Ngaba Prefecture in Sichuan Province.”