Mon, May 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Groups to mark Tiananmen Massacre

NEW MEANING:Taiwanese have always felt for victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, but now are also scared for themselves, the TAUP vice president said

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator You Mei-nu, second left, speaks at a news conference organized by the New School For Democracy in Taipei yesterday to announce plans for a series of events marking the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Civic groups from Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America are to hold a series of events to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre starting from Saturday, the New School For Democracy (NSD) said yesterday.

The events include a three-day academic conference, a photography exhibition and candlelight vigil, concerts, art installations and talks to commemorate the massacre’s victims and celebrate freedom of expression, the NSD said at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Groups organizing the events with the NSD include the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP); Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, Labour Party and Civic Party; and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 were part of the third wave of global democracy movements that helped shape Taiwan’s democracy, NSD chairman Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元) said.

“When we look back at the incident, we do not see it as a foreign event that took place on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, but rather an incident important to Taiwan’s democratization,” he said.

Due to increased pressure from Beijing, this year’s academic conference is to be held at National Taiwan University, instead of in Hong Kong, TAUP vice president Chen Li-fu (陳俐甫) said.

“This is the first time that TAUP is co-organizing the conference and we feel that if we do not do it this year, perhaps next year it could be held in Guam, because Taiwan might no longer be able to host it,” Chen said.

If Taiwanese do not learn from the massacre, they could suffer the same fate, he said.

“If China managed to annex Taiwan, the place where violent suppression is most likely to occur would be Taiwan, as it would be the most politically different area from Beijing,” he said.

The meaning of the Tiananmen Square Massacre has changed significantly for Taiwanese over the past three decades, he said.

“Before, we commemorated the massacre in an effort to defend human rights, but today we also commemorate it to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty,” he said. “We have always sympathized with massacre victims, but now we are also scared for ourselves.”

Over the past three decades, there has been “no truth, no apology and no repentance” from Chinese authorities, as the rule of law and protections of human rights continue to deteriorate in China, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator You Mei-nu (尤美女) said.

Hopefully, the commemorative events will help people better understand the history of the massacre and today’s China, and offer new perspectives regarding Taiwan’s future, she said.

Information about the events can be found on the New School For Democracy’s Web site: http://idemocracy.asia.

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