Sun, May 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui Tiananmen prayer touts democracy

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) has written a prayer for the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre at the invitation of the Hong Kong-based Civil Force organization.

In the prayer Lee called on Taiwanese to pray that China can “truly put its past behind it, change its political system and step toward being a truly democratic and liberal country.”

The organization hoped for influential figures across the globe to participate in its event. Desmond Tutu, retired archbishop of the Anglican Church of South Africa, has also endorsed the event. Lee was the only Taiwanese whom the organization has contacted.

In his prayer, Lee criticized the Chinese Communist Party for the violent 1989 crackdown, saying that he had made a public statement at the Chungshan Building at the earliest time possible condemning the violent repression of the people’s actions to advance democracy and freedom.

Although China has sought to develop its economy over the past quarter of a century, disregarding the price it had to pay for such economic development and the efforts to maintain stability, there has been no fundamental structural change in its autocratic political system, Lee said.

Chinese leaders across all levels have often pledged to promote political reforms in China, but power still remains in the hands of the few, Lee said.

On the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the power of faith must be stressed, Lee said.

China is greatly influenced by the feudal system, and often lets nationalism or statism guide its policies, but instead, Chinese should seek to start from faith and human rights, Lee said.

The implementation of faith would release the individual, freeing them to pursue the universal values of human rights and only through such methods can China fundamentally shift from autocracy to democracy, Lee said.

However, the quality of China’s democratization and eventual democracy is dependent on the belief and ideals of the common people and politicians, he added.

Lee, a Christian, said he was willing to pray on the 25th anniversary of the incident this year for the eventual democratization of China.

Lee also said he would continue to pray for the persistence and courage of the Chinese to fight for their freedom and democracy, in accordance with Hebrews 10:35: “Cast not away therefore your boldness, which hath great recompense of reward.”

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