Taiwan is a beacon for China: Ruan - Taipei Times
Sat, Jun 05, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan is a beacon for China: Ruan

MIRACLES HAPPEN A DPP conference marking the Tiananmen Square Massacre expressed hope that China could look at Taiwan as a role model

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

On the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, academics and officials yesterday said Taiwan could serve as a role model for China's democratization.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday held a seminar to mark the anniversary of the ill-fated, pro-democracy demonstrations, during which participants encouraged China's democratic movement to continue moving forward.

Ruan Ming (阮銘), a visiting professor at Tamkang University and a former special assistant to Hu Yaobang (胡耀邦), the late general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), said yesterday that Taiwan's situation was a unique example of political change in the wake of the "third wave" of global democratization and that its experiences would shed significant light on democratization in China.

Quoting US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia James Kelly's remarks that Taiwan was a democratic model not only for Asia but also the world, Ruan said the nation's democratic experience was particularly influential in the case of China because the two countries had both experienced Leninist autocratic rule.

"The KMT and the CCP were basically twins in the communist world. Taiwan, once under KMT dictatorship, has evolved from a Leninist party-state into the present democracy due to the rise of a social democratic movement. That makes Taiwan a unique democratic model and we hope to see similar changes in China in the future," Ruan said.

Ruan said he was optimistic regarding the fourth-generation Chinese leadership of President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) who, compared with former president Jiang Zemin (江澤民), were more open regarding the future direction of China.

Although the new leadership's priority was the economy, Ruan said the need for sustainable economic development underlined the need to avoid significant cross-strait tension for another two decades.

"Hu Jintao has a plan to `build a prosperous society in a comprehensive way' by 2020, and the priority for the Chinese citizenry remains economic stability. Until China reaches that goal, therefore, it can't afford to wage war against Taiwan. It will rely heavily on Taiwanese investment in China, especially from those [firms] like the Chi Mei Group," Ruan said.

Chi Mei Group figurehead Hsu Wen-lung (許文龍) was recently censured by China as an unwelcome Taiwanese businessman over his pro-independence stance.

Ruan urged stepped-up efforts in accelerating cross-strait exchanges, a move which would contribute to the liberalization of Chinese society.

However, Lin Wen-cheng (林文程), a former senior advisor to the National Security Council, expressed pessimism in relation to the current Chinese leadership.

He said there was no sign that the CCP's political grip was loosening, which many regard to be a precondition for the beginning of top-down democratization.

Lin said that China is experiencing a power struggle between Jiang and Hu.

"As long as these two factions are fighting with one another, they will not risk changing cross-strait policy. They can only adopt a hardline stance out of fear of instability," Lin said.

Lin also predicted that China would not express any goodwill to Taiwan until after December's legislative elections because China was still hoping that the pan-blue alliance can retain its majority.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday called for more support for China's democratic movement.

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