Sat, May 13, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Wang Dan lashes out at KMT chief

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) positive remarks about China's democratization based on its attitude toward the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre are a factual mistake, exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) said yesterday.

During his recent trip to Australia, Ma told a forum at Sydney University that China's shifting attitude toward the massacre, with Beijing calling it the "Tiananmen political disturbances" as opposed to its former "Tiananmen riot" label showed that the Chinese leadership "may slowly change its thoughts" about democratization.

Wang, one of the leaders of the pro-democracy student protests in Tiananmen Square, said that Ma obviously did not understand Chinese policy.

"China changed its tone as early as in the 1990s. If such change of tone means some shift in political stance, does Chairman Ma believe that China had changed its position back then?" Wang said in an article published in the Chinese-language China Times newspaper yesterday.

Wang, the founder of the Chinese Constitutional Reform Association in the US, said that former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) have consistently stressed that Beijing's quelling of the "riot" was "the right thing to do," and that Beijing's leadership has never agreed to readdress the massacre.

As someone who has spent his entire life in the political world, Wang said that Ma should understand that a politician's actions, rather than his words, are what people judge.

"There has not been any room for discussion of the massacre in China, and it is impossible to mourn the victims. People who go into exile are still not allowed to return. so can we see any change of attitude in China?" he said.

Ma, however, defended his comments yesterday in response to Wang's article.

He said the fact that the Chinese magazine Freezing Point had been allowed to resume publication could be seen as a small step in China's slow democratization.

"Based on some phenomena we have seen, there could be a possibility [for China to change]. But we still need to make more observations," the Taipei mayor said after participating in a municipal event at Taipei City Hall.

"There are more middle-class people in China, and I think they will have more diverse views to share with their government," Ma said.

Noting that Taiwan put great effort into reexamining the 228 Incident and the White Terror, Ma said that Taiwan was not in a position to ridicule China's slow democratization, although Taiwan's peaceful transition to democracy could serve as a valuable reference point for China.

"It's difficult for [China] to make a drastic change overnight. We will keep observing its democratization," he said.

Wang Dan's article will run in tomorrow's edition on page 8.

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