Chinese dissident does not expect rehabilitation

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Oct 27, 2012 - Page 3

Wang Dan (王丹), a former student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement, said he does not expect to see the rehabilitation of the dissidents involved in the Tiananmen Square crackdown, either before or after the national congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Wang was referring to the CCP’s 18th National Congress scheduled for Nov. 8, when a once-in-a-decade leadership transition is scheduled to take place.

Whether the administration of Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) remains in place or Xi Jinping (習近平) and Li Keqiang (李克強) take over, the signs are that there will be no urgency in dealing with the rehabilitation of the Tiananmen Square dissidents, Wang said.

Wang, currently a visiting assistant professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, said the CCP is pragmatic and it is not in its interests to rehabilitate the dissidents.

The CCP politburo would not dare deal with the issue, “unless it encountered a major social crisis or a strong voice from the private sector,” Wang said.

However, he also said that Chinese authorities will have to eventually address the issue because there are many problems in China.

Asking for the rehabilitation of the Tiananmen Square activists would be tantamount to seeking reform of China’s politics, Wang said.

It would depend on the voices of the people, which the Chinese regime cannot continue to suppress, he added.

He said the foreign media reports earlier this year that Wen had asked for a reassessment of the Tiananmen Square incident were “only rumors.”

Meanwhile, Ding Xueliang (丁學良) of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said there is a growing possibility of the rehabilitation of the Tiananmen activists.

He told the BBC that Wen’s proposal to reassess the Tiananmen incident would be a legitimate way for the Chinese government to free itself of that burden.

Ding said he believes that a new leadership of Xi and Li will take a neutral stance on the incident and could possibly find an objective and rational way to resolve it.

Wang played a key role in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. After the bloody crackdown on June 4 that year, he was arrested by Chinese authorities and later went to the US.