Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Dissident favors giving Chinese a choice

MEETING WITH SU:Chen Guangcheng told reporters that he supported self-determination, but thinks the concept of independence was out of date in Taiwan

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, left, gives a copy of his new book, titled China, the Book of Living and Dying, to Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Pichi Chuang, Reuters

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) yesterday said he advocated the “one country, two systems” approach to cross-strait ties, but said rather than it meaning Beijing defines relations, it could be a mechanism used within China to allow people to choose the kind of society they wish to live in.

“I would love to see a poll in the region south of the Yangtze River which allows people to vote on the system of government they want to live under — a democratic and free society or an authoritarian society. After three years we could expand the voting to the area south of the Yellow River and eventually to the entire country,” said the exiled activist, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for an 18-day visit.

Chen made the remarks in response to media inquiries after a meeting with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

The “one country, two systems” mechanism he has in mind would depend on the will of the people rather than on the Chinese government, and should be flexible, said the 41-year-old, who fled China last year with help from Washington.

Pressed by reporters about his position on the issues of the “one China” framework and Taiwan independence, Chen said he supported the principle of self-determination, which is upheld by international human rights organizations.

“However, I think the concept of independence has become out of date in Taiwan,” he said, without elaborating.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer who was imprisoned because of his rights activism, was surprised to learn that Su first became involved in politics when he served as a lawyer for political prisoners after the Kaohsiung Incident.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government during the White Terror period is very similar to the current Chinese Communist Party regime, as both suppress their people and the opposition in the name of “maintaining social stability,” Su said.

Judging from Taiwan’s experience, Su said that while most people during the White Terror era remained silent about the opposition movement or social activism, they privately supported the cause of the dangwai (黨外, “outside the party”) and that support eventually converged and brought about changes in Taiwan.

“I believe that the same thing could take place in China someday,” Su told Chen.

The two exchanged gifts before their 60-minute meeting, which was closed to the media. Su presented Chen with two CDs — Formosa (美麗島) by Aboriginal singer Kimbo, also known as Hu De-fu (胡德夫), and Songs of Madness (抓狂歌) by Blacklist Studio. Chen gave Su his new book: China, the Book of Living and Dying (中國生死書).

After the meeting, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the party respected Chen’s opinions and supported the establishment of mechanisms in the legislature that focus on human rights in China.

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