Tue, Dec 29, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Wang Dan warns of PRC student activity in Taiwan

By Tsau Chih-Ming and Chang Jui-chen  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Activist Wang Dan speaks at a forum on changes in China’s political situation in the past 60 years at an event organized in September by the pro-independence Taiwan Youth Anti-Communist Corps in Taipei.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) stirred debate recently over his suspicions that Chinese students may be “conducting organized activities” on college campuses in Taiwan.

In his latest post on Facebook, Wang said he raised the matter because he wanted to remind Taiwanese that this was now taking place in their country.

Wang, who is a guest lecturer at Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, gave a speech at Providence University in Taichung on Thursday titled “How to See the Real China.” During the two-hour event, a group of Chinese students studying in Taiwan challenged Wang, a student leader during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.

After the incident, Wang alleged that the students had planned to do this on his Facebook page.

Liao Jui-ming (廖瑞銘), an associate professor at the university’s Department of Taiwanese Literature who attended the event, said that while the students might have been within their rights to challenge Wang, the manner in which they did so highlighted their poor understanding of democracy vis-a-vis their Taiwanese counterparts.

A video of the incident shows some Chinese students repeatedly questioning the content of Wang’s speech, which addressed, among other subjects, dishonesty and cynicism in Chinese society.

They accused him of being unfair to the Chinese people because of his hatred for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

On his Facebook page, Wang said the incident didn’t look like individual behavior.

“Doesn’t the thought of Chinese students engaging in organized activity on Taiwanese campuses give you the chills?” Wang asked.

Wang said he was not making sensational comments to scare the public, adding that student council president at University of Hong Kong, who had previously made comments to the effect that there was no such thing as a Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989, was elected following organized voting by Chinese students.

“Taiwanese should take note of these things and not be too naive,” Wang said.

Liao said the 70 students who attended the speech were free to ask questions. However, few Taiwanese students were able to do so, as the Chinese students dominated the session. He said that while Wang might have been slightly intimidated by the scene, the atmosphere actually wasn’t too bad.

Wang said the Taiwanese students were too “mild,” while thanking the Chinese students for the “shock” after his speech.

Some Taiwanese students in the audience said they didn’t think the atmosphere was intense at the time, adding that although the comments made by the Chinese students were sharp, they stemmed from nationalist sentiment and were nothing to worry about.

Replying to a question by a Chinese student, Wang “alerted” Taiwanese students by asking them if they felt that the Chinese students had come “prepared.”

Wen Tsung-han (溫忠翰), a ­student at the Institute of Taiwan History in charge of receiving Wang at the event on Thursday, said that about 10 Chinese students attended the speech, seven of whom were seated in the front row.

They took notes diligently and adopted a strong tone in their questions. Some remarks were unfriendly, Wen said.

Wen said the possibility of “professional students” never crossed his mind.

Wang said his initial reaction was to assume that the Chinese students had perhaps not heard different views on the massacre, which would explain their strong reaction to his criticism of China. Only afterwards did it dawn on him that something “wasn’t right,” he said.

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