On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) said yesterday that the Internet was an area China was not able to control.
He said that although it might take a long time, the influence of the Internet had given him hope for the democratization of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Wang made the remarks during a conversation with researcher Lee Edwards at The Heritage Foundation in the US on Tuesday. In response to a question on how the younger Chinese generation looks at the Chinese democracy movement almost 20 years after the June 4 incident, Wang said this generation thinks differently from his generation, which placed more importance on ideology.
He said younger generations were more concerned about how to meet their material interests and were not concerned about ideological or impractical issues.
“Like everywhere else in the world, the younger generation shows more interest in money while the older generation values idealism. After the 1980s, materialism became the social mainstream and that had an impact on the younger generation,” Wang said.
But Wang said he was not disappointed with this phenomenon because at least the younger generation cared about its own interests. He said this mindset would lead to conflict between young people and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership as the latter fundamentally opposes basic individual rights.
Wang said the Internet could help young people understand the June 4 incident, adding that people cannot pin their hopes for the future of the Chinese democracy movement on the new CCP leadership.
“There are two Chinas now. One is the real and practical China, which is totally controlled by the CCP. The other China is a China based on the Internet,” Wang said. “That’s the base of the new social forces. It is the hope for civil society, and civil society is the hope for democracy.”
“It will take a long time, but at least I have seen the starting point,” Wang said.
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