Sun, Jun 04, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Dissidents pan China on rights

NO PROGRESS Democracy activists slammed the PRC saying that it was using its new-found wealth and capitalist market system to further deny its people freedom of choice

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Seventeen years after the Tianan-men Square democracy movement, the prospects for human rights and democracy in China remain grim as the Chinese authorities use capitalism and liberalism to support their authoritarian rule, Chinese democracy activists said yesterday.

On the eve of the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre yesterday, several Chinese democracy activists attended a forum in Taipei to dicuss human rights in China which was organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Arthur Liu (劉俊國), a student representative during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and now a lawyer in the US, said that the human rights situation in China was now in its darkest moment since 1989 as the Chinese state used capital and the vast Chinese market as lures to keep Western capitalists and politicians silent on China's human-rights record.

Companies such as Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems were collaborating with the Chinese authoritarian state and helping design firewalls and censorship inside China to block information deemed sensitive by the Chinese government, Liu said.

Hu Ping (胡平), editor-in-chief of the New York-based Beijing Spring magazine said it was merely wishful thinking to believe that economic development in China would lead to political liberalization, as the country's poor recent record on human rights countered such a claim.

"What we see in China now is a combination of the worst kinds of socialism and capitalism," Hu said.

Political commentator Paul Lin (林保華) pointed out that the democracy movement in China has now been replaced with the "human rights defending movement," which focuses on defending people's "existence rights" in order to bypass pressure on invoking political censures.

Former Chinese president Jiang Zeming (江澤民) once interpreted human rights in China as the right to exist and satisfy basic economic needs.

However, Lin said the request for the minimal rights of existence was a curtailed human rights movement as the Chinese state continues to deny granting political freedom to its people by using economic incentives as an excuse.

He proposed that religion could be a way to concentrate people power to achieve greater freedom as religious faith could be a source of continued support for the democracy movement, as evidenced by Falun Gong's increased weight when fighting with China's authoritarian rulers.

Former presidential advisor and Chinese political dissident Ruan Ming (阮銘) yesterday urged the Taiwanese government to promulgate a political asylum law to accommodate Chinese asylum seekers who are currently unable to obtain residency in Taiwan.

"As the closest democratic society to China, Taiwan should serve as a beacon of freedom and democracy for China and take on the responsibility of granting protection for human rights activists persecuted by the Chinese government," Ruan said yesterday.

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