Sun, May 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

‘Don’t forget Tiananmen,’ exile says

UPSETTING XI:Wang Dan said that young Chinese have not remained obedient to Beijing’s orders on the 1989 massacre, putting the Chinese president on edge

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter

Chinese dissident Wang Dan speaks at a conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Exiled Chinese dissident Wang Dan (王丹) yesterday called on all Chinese longing for democracy to “never forget, never give up, reunite and start over” ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Wang made the remarks in Taipei at the opening of a three-day seminar on the massacre organized by the New School for Democracy and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in his address on the centennial of the May Fourth Movement, repeated calls he has made on numerous occasions this year that the Chinese government would conduct thought reform on young people starting from kindergarten, which suggests that young Chinese would undergo a change in thinking and to their social atmosphere, said Wang, a leader of the student-led democratic movement that sparked the bloody crackdown in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

Arrests of left-leaning young people in China are ripples sent by a deep stirring of the ideologies of young Chinese, who are no longer docile like “stagnant water,” he said.

“If young Chinese had remained obedient and not made waves, Xi would not be so edgy,” Wang said, adding that the perceived changing attitudes among young Chinese is worth watching.

Modern-day Chinese culture is Beijing’s greatest weapon against the West, he said, citing the number of rich Chinese who have “spent a lot of money” to send their children to top US universities like Harvard, Stanford and Yale.

Beijing maintains a laissez-faire attitude to this trend and Chinese parents are proud of their actions, but Washington will not stand idly by as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime attempts to root out democracy by infiltrating the culture of other nations, which is the greatest threat to democracy, the world and humankind, he said.

Knowledge of the massacre must be passed on to future generations of Chinese, as it is foreign to younger Chinese and gradually fading out from the memories of Westerners, he said.

With the precarious state of the limited autonomy that the CCP promised Hong Kong before its handover from the UK in 1997 and Beijing seeking to expand its influence in the West, all stakeholders should renew dialogue to define what the massacre has come to embody over the past 30 years and what lessons people should learn from it, Wang said.

Alliance chairman Albert Ho (何俊仁) said that the seminar was held in Taiwan, as many speakers were denied entry into Hong Kong.

If a bill allowing extraditions from the territory to China passes into law, he would not dare invite speakers to Hong Kong, even if the government eases entry restrictions, Ho said.

Hoover Institute senior fellow Larry Diamond said that the CCP has been systemically diluting people’s memories of the massacre and restricting research into it.

Beijing is also using “sharp power” to threaten democratic societies worldwide, Diamond said.

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