A commemorative ceremony for the Tiananmen Square Massacre was held at the Legislative Yuan for the first time yesterday, with lawmakers across party lines and civic organizations participating to support human rights and promote democracy in China.
Organized by the Parliamentary Cross-Party Group on International Human Rights, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu’s (尤美女) office, the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights (TACHR) and Friends of Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), led by exiled Chinese dissident Wuer Kaixi, the event was held to call on the Chinese government, on the 27th anniversary of the June 4 massacre, to stop preventing its people from learning about the incident, to admit responsibility and apologize for its mistakes, and to hold those carried out the massacre accountable.
The event also saw more than a dozen lawmakers sign an extempore motion, proposed by Yu, demanding that Taiwan’s executive agencies “express, at appropriate times, Taiwan’s serious concerns for the redressing of the June 4 [massacre] during future cross-strait meetings and exchanges.”
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The Tiananmen Square Massacre is not just China’s problem, but represents a threat to the universal value of human rights, Yu said, adding that the group called on China to “put an end to terror and disaster” on the June 4 anniversary.
Wuer Kaixi said Liu has been behind bars since 2008 for drafting Charter 08, “which is absolutely legitimate, reasonable and representative of Chinese views on human rights in that it is in line with the People’s Republic of China’s own constitution.”
“It might seem that time goes faster for exiled dissidents than for those incarcerated and Tiananmen mothers, but the time definitely did not fly [for us]. My mother and father have been constantly harassed [by the Chinese authorities] and, for 27 years, have not seen their own son and their grandchildren born overseas. This is what China, touted to be a rising great power, does [to punish those stand against it] by implicating their whole families,” he said, adding that the China “we are facing today is a barbaric China.”
“In this uphill battle for Chinese democracy, we have received support from all over the world, including Taiwan,” Wuer Kaixi said.
“Martin Luther King once said: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Some young Hong Kongers have been proposing to stop commemorating June 4, saying that China’s democracy is the Chinese people’s own responsibility. That is absolutely right; we do not believe that it is Taiwanese or Hong Kongers’ responsibility. However, on this path to pursuing China’s democracy, we are sensing greater loneliness now and experiencing fading support around the world, probably due to China’s rising economic power,” he said.
Amid this kind of global environment, “today we see the taking place of a ceremony commemorating the June 4 incident in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan; it is almost like having someone pat our back on this dark, difficult, uphill road and tell us that we are not alone,” the exiled dissident said, adding that such support is especially warm when it comes from Taiwan, which also went through many ordeals to achieve its freedom and democracy.
TACHR chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said he had just gotten off a plane, returning from the European Parliament’s committee hearing on China’s persecution against its people.
Yang said that during the trip, he was invited by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk about the possible passage of a refugee act.
“I met with the majority party caucus whip of the Dutch parliament, who was also interested in the draft act,” he added.
“When a joint review session of the Internal Administration Committee and Foreign and National Defense Committee over the draft refugee act took place on Wednesday, I was at the Dutch parliament. Their members of parliament asked me whether we were deliberating the draft ‘for real,’ which I resolutely confirmed,” Yang said. “They were all excited that Taiwan is taking action against the Chinese government’s persecution [of its people].”
“We cannot stop talking about the June 4 Incident,” as merely discussing it puts pressure on the Chinese government, he said, adding that holding the event in Taiwan’s legislature, and continuing to do so in the future, would send a strong message to Beijing.
“Beijing does not even abide by its own laws and constitution. How could it make Taiwan believe that it would follow the agreements it signed with us or in this regime? This is a message that must be spread,” Yang said.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that 27 years could see an authoritarian state transform into a democratic one.
“Twenty-seven years after democracy pioneer Lei Chen’s (雷震) arrest [in 1960], martial law was lifted; 27 years after Peng Ming-min’s (彭明敏) ‘Declaration of Formosan Self-salvation’ [in 1964], the legislature was finally completely re-elected; 27 years after Deng Nan-jung’s (鄭南榕) self-immolation for freedom of speech [in 1989], which is this year, the main opposition party took power for the second time, consolidating a true democracy as it is widely defined,” Kuan said.
“We would be glad to see Taiwan’s experience be [useful or an encouragement] for the effort of Chinese democratization,” she added.
New Power Party Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, who said she was representing the party caucus, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) were among the endorsers of the motion.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan