One of the exiled leaders of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 got the cold shoulder from the Chinese embassy in Washington on Friday when he tried to turn himself in to return home.
Wuer Kaixi, 44, who now lives in Taiwan, wants to see his frail and aging parents in Urumqi, northwest China, as well as ignite a dialogue on reform with China’s communist leadership — even if it means standing trial.
However, when he went to the bunker-like Chinese embassy in the US capital, the dissident activist found the smoked-glass doors locked, and no one responded when he rang the doorbell and dialed an off-hours telephone number.
Telephone calls into the embassy by an Agence France-Presse reporter at the scene also went unanswered.
“Well, I guess this is as close as I can get to Chinese soil,” said Wuer Kaixi, who last tried to surrender at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, where Japanese police arrested him for trespassing and held him for two days.
“If I want to go home, what does it take? It’s office hours. I call then and ring the bell, but no one comes,” he said, adding that he would next take his case to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Yang Jianli, president of Washington-based group Initiatives for China who was on hand to support Wuer Kaixi at the embassy, said “the Chinese government is doing everything it can to erase the memory of Tiananmen Square.”
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, died when the Chinese government sent in tanks and soldiers to clear the square in Beijing on the night of June 3 and 4, 1989, and ended six weeks of unprecedented pro-democracy protests.
Wuer Kaixi, then a student at Beijing Normal University, was among several Tiananmen leaders and hunger strikers who escaped to the US in the weeks after the crackdown.
An official Chinese Communist Party verdict after the Tiananmen protests branded the movement a “counter-revolutionary rebellion,” although the wording has since been softened.
Asked as an exile of 23 years what advice he would give blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), who escaped house arrest last month and plans to come to the US, Wuer Kaixi suggested patience.
Chen “is a hero,” Wuer Kaixi said. “Everybody in the world should embrace him.
“But he needs to take this good time [in the US] to take a good rest” before joining other exiles in “a group effort ... a team effort” to bring about change in China, he added.
Wuer Kaixi was among six Tian-anmen activists in exile who last month sent a letter to Beijing saying they had been deprived of their right to return to their homeland and denied Chinese travel documents abroad.
Wuer Kaixi is now a political commentator in Taiwan. His gesture on Friday drew only a handful of reporters and a single US Secret Service diplomatic security officer.
Choosing a full-fledged confrontation with the US due to the loss of a megacontract for submarines for Australia, France is making a risky bet and other nations are not rushing to its defense. After Australia renounced its deal for conventional submarines in favor of US nuclear-powered ones, France took the extraordinary step of pulling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations. Bertrand Badie, an international relations professor at the Sciences Po institute in Paris, said France had put itself in a position where it can only appear to be backing down or losing face once its ambassador returns to the US,
Could delivering COVID-19 immunity directly to the nose — the area of the body via which it is mostly transmitted — help conquer the pandemic? The WHO says clinical trials are under way to evaluate eight nasal spray vaccines that target COVID-19. The most advanced effort so far by China’s Xiamen University, the University of Hong Kong and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy has completed phase 2 trials. “When the virus infects someone, it usually gets in through the nose,” said researcher Nathalie Mielcarek, who is working with the Lille Pasteur Institute to develop a nasal spray vaccine against whooping cough. “The
PLANNING TO REOPEN: Amid 1,607 new COVID-19 cases, the country is making a shift away from lockdowns, acknowledging that outbreaks will happen Australia reported 1,607 new coronavirus cases yesterday as states and territories gradually shift from trying to eliminate outbreaks to living with the virus. Victoria, home to about a quarter of Australia’s 25 million people, recorded 507 cases as Premier Daniel Andrews said a weeks-long lockdown will end once 70 percent of those 16 and older are fully vaccinated, whether or not there are new cases. Andrews said the state might reach that vaccination threshold around Oct. 26. About 43 percent of Victorians have been fully vaccinated, 46 percent nationwide. “We will do so cautiously, but make no mistake, we are opening this place
OLD WAYS: The Ministry of Women’s Affairs also seems to have closed, as its sign was replaced with one for the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice The Taliban have effectively banned girls from secondary education in Afghanistan, by ordering high schools to reopen only for boys. Girls were not mentioned in Friday’s announcement, which means boys would be back at their desks next week after a one-month hiatus, while girls would still be stuck at home. The Taliban Ministry of Education said that secondary-school classes for boys in grades 7 to 12 would resume yesterday, the start of the Afghan week. “All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions,” the statement said. The future of girls and female teachers, stuck at home since the Taliban took