Wang Dan (王丹) a former student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests yesterday issued a statement disagreeing with an announcement by another Tiananmen student leader, Chai Ling (柴玲), that she forgave the Chinese Communist Party leadership for launching a violent crackdown on protesters and the troops who opened fire on or ran over protesters with tanks.
“I respect the opinion that Chai Ling expressed due to her own religious belief. However, I completely disagree with it,” said Wang, who currently lives in exile in Taiwan, in a statement posted on his Facebook page. “I think that, when the killers have yet to confess or apologize — and are even continuing to kill — forgiveness by the victim is baseless.”
He said he released the statement because he wanted the world to know that Chai is only expressing her own personal opinion and religious beliefs.
“What she said cannot represent all those students who took part in the 1989 protests,” Wang said.
“I would also like to openly call on Chai to make a distinction between personal belief and the judgment of what’s right and wrong,” he said.
Chai — who now lives in the US — made the statement on the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on Monday, in both Chinese and English.
Chai — a devoted Christian — cited several excerpts from the Bible, and said that she decided to forgive the Chinese leadership who ordered the violent crackdown, including former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) and former premier Li Peng (李鵬), as well as soldiers who fired upon the students or ran over them with tanks.
“Because of Jesus, I forgive them. I forgive Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng. I forgive the soldiers who stormed Tiananmen Square in 1989. I forgive the current leadership of China, who continue to suppress freedom,” she said.
“I understand such forgiveness is countercultural. Yet it is only a small reflection of the forgiveness that Jesus gave, and I was filled with peace when I followed him in forgiving. When forgiveness arises, a lasting peace can finally reign,” she added.