President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) issued a statement yesterday to mark the 23rd anniversary of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in which he expressed hope that China would improve its human rights record and initiate democratic development.
For more than two decades, China’s economy has grown rapidly and people’s lives have greatly improved as the country has become increasingly competitive, Ma said.
However, the emotional scars left by the massacre that took place in Beijing on June 4, 1989, have yet to heal and the incident has given the international community an impression of China’s human rights development that has stayed virtually unchanged since then, he said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“Most ethnic Chinese societies believe that China today is more mature and in a better position to transform into a more diverse and open democratic society. Dealing with the trauma of the June 4 Incident could be the first step toward political reform,” he said.
Ma said Taiwanese and Chinese are all of Chinese origin and share the same cultural heritage, including the concepts of freedom, democracy and human rights.
“We once again reiterate that we cherish the peace created by the two sides over the past four years and hope that the positive interaction will continue,” Ma added.
However, Taiwan and China still differ in human rights development, and these differences will need to be overcome before the two sides can enter a deeper phase of interaction, Ma said.
Taiwan’s experience in becoming a democratic society has proven that democracy can take root and grow in a Chinese culture, he said, adding that he has great hopes for improvements in human rights and democracy in China and that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can begin dialogue in the fields of democratic rule and human rights protection, with the shared culture between Taiwan and China as a foundation.
Ma also said he would continue to express concern over democratic development in China, which he described as the best way to help reduce the psychological distance between the people of the two sides of the Strait.
The Mainland Affairs Council had issued a statement on Sunday, calling on Beijing to adopt the idea of “people first” as the core principle of its administration, and to promote political reforms based on self-reflection on the 1989 “incident” and its reform experiences over the past years.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) yesterday called both Ma’s and the council’s statements ineffectual and superficial.
Pointing to the US Department of State’s statement on Sunday urging China “to release all those still serving sentences for their participation in the demonstrations; to provide a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing; and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families,” Tuan asked why the council did not dare make any concrete demands of China.
In comparison with the US Department of State’s statement, Ma’s and the council’s statements are “shameful,” Tuan said.
Separately yesterday, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged her party and the Chinese people to keep fighting for democracy in China in a message to commemorate the anniversary.
“June 4, 1989, marks an historic point in time of a bloody crackdown, as well as an attempt at seeking democratic reform by the previous generation of Chinese. What it means to the Chinese people will be determined by how the current generation of Chinese do on the road to democratization,” Tsai wrote on her Facebook page.
Since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has neither shouldered the responsibility to promote democratization in a rapidly changing China, nor shown any intention to do so, the DPP will have to embrace the challenge and responsibility, she said, adding that the Chinese government has not changed after 23 years, as Beijing still refuses to listen to the public’s voice and engage in introspection on its use of state violence.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer
NO CONNECTION: Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said the CECC has linked no deaths so far to the AstraZeneca vaccine Eleven people in the nation have died after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, but the deaths should not deter older people with chronic health conditions from getting vaccinated. Nine of the deaths — people aged 65 to 97 — took place three hours to one day after the AstraZeneca vaccine was given, the center said, while eight of the 11 deaths were people aged 75 or older, most of whom had chronic health conditions. On Wednesday, the center said that 12 more people — seven women and five men aged 42 to 97 at
HELPING HAND: Vaccine eligibility can likely be widened to cover pregnant women now that the nation has more vaccine doses than it planned for, Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan yesterday received a shipment of 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by the US, obtaining its largest single batch of vaccines since the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year. A cargo plane of Taiwanese national carrier China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) carrying the Moderna Inc vaccines landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at about 4:30pm, after leaving Memphis, Tennessee, early on Saturday, US time. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen were at the airport to welcome the plane. The vaccines were transported to a cold chain logistics center, where they would be inspected
‘NO STRINGS ATTACHED’: The US is donating the shots without any political or economic conditions, and with the singular aim of saving lives, a senior US official said The US was yesterday to ship 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, a senior US administration official told Reuters, more than tripling Washington’s previous allocation of shots for the nation. Washington, competing with Beijing to deepen geopolitical clout through so-called “vaccine diplomacy,” had initially promised to donate 750,000 doses to Taiwan, but is increasing that number as US President Joe Biden’s administration advances its pledge to send 80 million US-made shots around the world. The 2.5 million donated doses of the Moderna Inc vaccine would leave Memphis, Tennessee, on a flight belonging to Taiwan’s national carrier, China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), early
VULNERABLE: The CECC has been moving older infected people or those with underlying health conditions, who were in isolation, to hospitals for better health monitoring The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 75 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, the lowest daily count since the nationwide level 3 alert was issued last month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the 75 local infections are 35 males and 40 females, aged from under five to over 80, and they began experiencing symptoms between June 8 and Sunday. New Taipei City reported 38 cases, followed by Taipei with 22, Taoyuan with five, Miaoli County with three, Keelung and Taichung with two each, and Kaohsiung, Yunlin County and Changhua County with one each, CECC