Tue, Jun 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Tsai urges China to heal Tiananmen injustices

DEMOCRATIZATION:Taiwan and China could better understand each other and more easily cooperate if China were democratized, President Tsai Ing-wen said

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Using simplified Chinese characters on Facebook, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged China to address the injustices of the Tiananmen Square Massacre as a first step toward democratization.

China has the opportunity to “transform the unfortunate historical [event that was the] Tiananmen Square Massacre into the cornerstone of its march toward freedom and democracy,” Tsai wrote.

Tsai hoped to use yesterday’s 29th anniversary of the massacre as an opportunity to speak to Chinese and to share Taiwan’s experience with democratization, she said.

As Chinese visiting her page would realize, it is a microcosm of Taiwan’s democratic government, with both encouraging and critical comments, she said.

“In Taiwan, there are no sensitive words. We don’t censor Internet use and there’s of course no need to breach any firewalls [to access blocked content]. This is how we live and we have built a democracy that facilitates this,” she said.

Since it occurred, China has been unable to get out from under the haze of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, she said.

By contrast, Taiwan has gone through the 228 Incident and the Kaohsiung Incident, both of which were described by authorities at the time as “rebellions.” However, because of the social energy that was “fomented,” built up and mobilized as a result of these incidents, Taiwanese politics were driven toward reform and democratization.

“We have upheld our historical responsibilities, wholeheartedly getting to the facts, redressing the injustices experienced by the victims [of those incidents] and compensating their family members,” Tsai said.

She also described the Transitional Justice Commission, explaining its role in investigating injustices that occurred during authoritarian rule.

The commission’s role is to heal society’s scars, resolve antagonisms and strengthen Taiwan’s democracy, she said.

Tsai said she hopes for a day when Chinese netizens can access her Facebook page without breaching the Chinese government’s firewall.

Taiwan and China could better understand each other and more easily cooperate if China were democratized, she said.

The Democratic Progressive Party also issued a statement saying that China’s democratization is in the hands of the Chinese people.

Separately, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) wrote on Facebook that he has always been concerned by China’s failure to redress the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

“If Taiwan can face its history and uphold its responsibilities, why can’t the Chinese Communist Party do the same?” he asked, adding that unification cannot be discussed until the injustices of the Tiananmen Square Massacre are redressed.

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