Mon, Jun 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan urged to export democracy to China

REMEMBERING TIANANMEN A conference in Taipei yesterday heard calls for Taiwan’s government to initiate discussions on human rights issues during cross-strait talks

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

It’s about time for Taiwan to become an “exporter of democracy,” speakers at a conference on the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre said in Taipei yesterday, urging the government to discuss human rights issues during cross-strait negotiations.

“China has become an ‘exporter of authoritarianism — not because of any ideological reasons, but for its own national interests,” said Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮), director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Department of Social Movement.

“China has become strikingly similar to what it once criticized as ‘American imperialists,’” Yiong said.

He said that because of its need for oil and other raw materials, as well as for the access to the Indian Ocean, “China is providing support and weapons to authoritarian rulers in Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe.”

CRACKDOWNS

“As the Chinese government cracks down on Tibetan demonstrators in Lhasa, arrests Chinese human rights activists and even allows live organ harvest of Falun Gong practitioners, we cannot pretend that all these do not happen and we only focus on economic exchanges,” Yiong said.

“If we do, we would become a member of China’s ‘axis of evil,’” he said.

Taiwan should seek to become an “exporter of democracy” and bring up human rights issues — such as urging Beijing to give justice to victims of the Tiananmen Massacre — during cross-strait talks, he told the conference.

“Taiwan received much help from the international community — especially from international human rights groups—during our struggle for democracy,” former DDP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said.

Several Chinese democracy activists also attended the conference, which was organized by a Chinese democracy movement support group.

JUSTICE DELAYED

“We’re talking about commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre here, but it’s not just about remembering a historic event, because Tiananmen Square is not yet history,” Chinese democracy activist Xue Wei (薛偉) said.

“Justice is yet to be rendered even judged by the lowest standards, many Tiananmen Square demonstrators are still in jail or in exile,” Xue said.

“Remembering Tiananmen Square itself is a resistance to the Chinese Communist Party regime,” he said.

All the speakers expressed their concerns that less people seem to care about democracy in China today as the country evolves into a strong economic power.

“I’ve heard some people attributing China’s economic development to the iron-handed crackdown of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square,” former New Party legislator Yao Li-ming (姚立明) said. “That’s highly inappropriate.”

Yao said he was sorry that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) seems to have become more ambivalent about the the massacre since he became president.

“I understand that he may have other considerations as a president who represents the entire Republic of China,” Yao said.

“But I do expect him to make a gesture on June 4,” Yao said.

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