One of China’s most wanted fugitives says he hasn’t given up trying to return to China and won’t relent in his efforts to pressure Beijing to democratize.
Wuer Kaixi, a prominent student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, told the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents Club yesterday that despite two failed attempts, he would continue to try to re-enter China to visit his parents in Urumqi, Xinjiang, whom he hasn’t seen for 21 years.
Since Wuer Kaixi became a wanted “criminal” after the Tiananmen crackdown, his parents have been barred from leaving the country.
The dissident, who lives in exile in Taiwan, was turned back after attempting to enter Macau last year and was barred from boarding a flight from Tokyo to Beijing last month.
He was arrested by Japanese police and detained for two days after attempting to jump over a security gate to get into the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.
“I am now able to say I am a political dissident with jail experience — two days,” the 42-year-old said.
Wuer Kaixi said his attempts to return to China were in order to continue the dialogue with Chinese authorities that he and other dissident students started in the 1980s.
While he expects to be arrested if he returns, he said this was “not an admission of wrongdoing 21 years ago.”
“I will keep trying. There will be elevated actions,” he said, without providing details.
“How can I give up hope of seeing my parents, even if this has to be a prison visit,” he said, accusing Chinese authorities of meting out punishment not only to dissidents, but also their families.
“My parents’ health has suffered,” he said of the consequences of his exile.
Asked about Taipei’s blacklisting of World Uyghur Congress president Rebiya Kadeer, Wuer Kaixi said it was a “stupid mistake,” adding that the decision was made not on grounds of national security, but rather in the “national interest,” which meant not angering Beijing.
On whether the same could happen to him one day, he said it was unlikely, as he is now a naturalized Taiwanese citizen and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) “has integrity” and abides by the law.
“Opportunists” in Ma’s party, however, could exploit some of the president’s foibles to “drag him down,” he said.
“Ma’s a pleaser — he likes to please everybody,” Wuer Kaixi said.
“If you know how to push [Ma’s] right button,” his China policies could turn bad for Taiwan, he said.