Safeguarding democracy is the only strategic advantage Taiwan has against a rising China and it would serve the nation’s interests to help promote democratization in China, Chinese dissidents said yesterday on the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
“Taiwan’s close attention to the Chinese democratic movement would promote its international image, be welcomed by the US and help win the hearts of the Chinese people. I see all pluses and no minuses in it,” Wang Dan (王丹), an exiled leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests who is now a visiting assistant professor at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, told a forum organized by the Democratic Progressive Party on human rights in China.
Wang presented an eight-point list of things Taiwan can do to advance democracy in China, with making the democratization of China the top pre-requisite for political negotiations across the Taiwan Strait.
Wang also encouraged Taiwan to help promote the development of Chinese civil society, with the aid of its more experienced non-governmental organizations, through Internet communication, by welcoming more Chinese students to Taiwan to experience democracy first-hand and by offering more support to Chinese dissidents abroad.
Taiwan could leverage the 1 million businesspeople it has in China by having them support the development of Chinese civil society and making China’s democratization the priority mission of the quasi-official Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, he said.
Wang added that by encouraging closer engagement with Chinese students in Taiwan, rather than ignoring them, Taiwan would be in a better position to engage China in the long term because those students would be China’s future.
“While the Chinese Communist Party rules China now, it is not necessarily China’s future. Any Taiwanese politician with a vision should look at the long term,” Wang said.
With respect to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, a “watershed moment in modern China’s history,” the clash between state power and human rights had intensified over the past two decades, he said.
“The moment that clash reaches the boiling point would be the beginning of democratization in China,” Wang said.
While closer bilateral engagement is welcomed, Qi Jiazhen (齊家貞), an Australia-based Chinese writer who served a 13-year jail term in China in the 1960s, warned Taiwanese that the Beijing regime “is now a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but at the end of the day, it is still a big, bad wolf.”