“A government should be responsible for any violent clashes with its people ... when a government uses violence against its people, it takes a very long time to regain the people’s trust,” Ma said, urging China to face the situation and regain public trust by being patient and tolerant.
Ma praised China’s efforts to promote traditional Chinese culture, push for economic development and improve cross-strait relations. He said the Chinese government should show sincerity and treat opposition groups with tolerance.
“By doing this, the Chinese government will gain people’s trust and narrow the gap between the two sides in handling human right issues,” he said.
China will also improve its international reputation if it steps up efforts to improve human rights, he said.
Ma, who during his terms as Taipei mayor was a vocal critic of Beijing’s crackdown on the 1989 protests, has kept a low profile on the subject since taking office. He issued statements on the incident’s anniversary in the last two years, but did not attend any commemorative events.
Ma drew criticism last year for declining to meet Wang one month before the Tiananmen Massacre anniversary.
Additional reporting: Hsieh Wen-hua and Mo Yan-chih