Tue, Jun 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TIANANMEN REFLECTIONS: INTERVIEW: Wang Dan looks back on Tiananmen — and ahead

Tiananmen Square student leader and exiled Chinese dissident Wang Dan met with Wen Chun-hua, a staff reporter with the “Liberty Times” (the sister newspaper of the “Taipei Times”) to discuss the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Wang said he does not regret his actions 25 years ago and spoke about the impact of the Sunflower movement on cross-strait relations and Taiwan’s democracy

Wang: I myself have created a piece of history by taking action. There is nothing more comforting than seeing my own students writing another chapter of history by doing something right. They are remarkable people who are full of passion.

To resolve the challenges and difficulties Taiwan has encountered during its [democratization] process, more young people must start caring about and getting involved in major social issues. Whether or not others are 100 percent satisfied with the pair’s conduct and performance, I, as an educator, am very proud of them.

The Sunflower movement has had two profound effects on the nation.

The first one is on its democracy. Triggered by people’s discontent with the system of representative politics in this country, the movement demonstrated the force of “people power” so magnificently that it has helped blaze a new path for the nation’s democratic development.

From now on, Taiwanese may begin to exercise people power more often to make up for the deficiency of the nation’s current democratic system.

The second effect is on its ties with China. To the communist regime, the appeals, stances and attitudes of participants in the movement were something completely unexpected. This surprise could force the regime to rethink or even change its policies toward Taiwan.

In addition to China, Hong Kong was also deeply influenced by the movement.

After the Sunflower movement was launched, many members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and the Legislative Council flew to Taiwan to show their support for the student-led movement.

It is apparent that the “China factor” has underlined the importance of mutual support and understanding between Taiwanese and Hong Kongers and has brought them closer than ever.

One of the leaders of a recent 20,000-strong rally in Macau against a controversial bill is Su Jiahao (蘇嘉豪), a Macanese student in National Taiwan University’s political science department, whom I have known since he was a freshman.

Since I started teaching in Taiwan [in 2009], I have held a memorial event for [the massacre] on June 4 of each year. Chen and Su were both among the organizers for the first such event, which I believe signaled the beginning of a mutually supportive relationship between the younger generation of Taiwanese and their counterparts across the Taiwan Strait.

Only by standing together and joining forces can these young people channel enough power to have a fighting chance against their mutual enemy — the Chinese government.

LT: President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has endeavored to make breakthroughs in cross-strait ties in a desperate attempt to prop up his dismal approval ratings at home. How do you think China would evaluate Ma’s remaining term and what kind of adjustments do you think it would make on its policies toward Taiwan?

Wang: China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) has made its stance quite clear and has hinted that it is determined to make some adjustments. It has repeatedly pledged to reach out to people from southern Taiwan, to the proprietors of small and medium-sized enterprises, and to the nation’s younger generation.

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