A commemorative ceremony for the Tiananmen Square Massacre was held at the Legislative Yuan for the first time yesterday, with lawmakers across party lines and civic organizations participating to support human rights and promote democracy in China.
Organized by the Parliamentary Cross-Party Group on International Human Rights, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu’s (尤美女) office, the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights (TACHR) and Friends of Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), led by exiled Chinese dissident Wuer Kaixi, the event was held to call on the Chinese government, on the 27th anniversary of the June 4 massacre, to stop preventing its people from learning about the incident, to admit responsibility and apologize for its mistakes, and to hold those carried out the massacre accountable.
The event also saw more than a dozen lawmakers sign an extempore motion, proposed by Yu, demanding that Taiwan’s executive agencies “express, at appropriate times, Taiwan’s serious concerns for the redressing of the June 4 [massacre] during future cross-strait meetings and exchanges.”
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The Tiananmen Square Massacre is not just China’s problem, but represents a threat to the universal value of human rights, Yu said, adding that the group called on China to “put an end to terror and disaster” on the June 4 anniversary.
Wuer Kaixi said Liu has been behind bars since 2008 for drafting Charter 08, “which is absolutely legitimate, reasonable and representative of Chinese views on human rights in that it is in line with the People’s Republic of China’s own constitution.”
“It might seem that time goes faster for exiled dissidents than for those incarcerated and Tiananmen mothers, but the time definitely did not fly [for us]. My mother and father have been constantly harassed [by the Chinese authorities] and, for 27 years, have not seen their own son and their grandchildren born overseas. This is what China, touted to be a rising great power, does [to punish those stand against it] by implicating their whole families,” he said, adding that the China “we are facing today is a barbaric China.”
“In this uphill battle for Chinese democracy, we have received support from all over the world, including Taiwan,” Wuer Kaixi said.
“Martin Luther King once said: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Some young Hong Kongers have been proposing to stop commemorating June 4, saying that China’s democracy is the Chinese people’s own responsibility. That is absolutely right; we do not believe that it is Taiwanese or Hong Kongers’ responsibility. However, on this path to pursuing China’s democracy, we are sensing greater loneliness now and experiencing fading support around the world, probably due to China’s rising economic power,” he said.
Amid this kind of global environment, “today we see the taking place of a ceremony commemorating the June 4 incident in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan; it is almost like having someone pat our back on this dark, difficult, uphill road and tell us that we are not alone,” the exiled dissident said, adding that such support is especially warm when it comes from Taiwan, which also went through many ordeals to achieve its freedom and democracy.
TACHR chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said he had just gotten off a plane, returning from the European Parliament’s committee hearing on China’s persecution against its people.
Yang said that during the trip, he was invited by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk about the possible passage of a refugee act.
“I met with the majority party caucus whip of the Dutch parliament, who was also interested in the draft act,” he added.
“When a joint review session of the Internal Administration Committee and Foreign and National Defense Committee over the draft refugee act took place on Wednesday, I was at the Dutch parliament. Their members of parliament asked me whether we were deliberating the draft ‘for real,’ which I resolutely confirmed,” Yang said. “They were all excited that Taiwan is taking action against the Chinese government’s persecution [of its people].”
“We cannot stop talking about the June 4 Incident,” as merely discussing it puts pressure on the Chinese government, he said, adding that holding the event in Taiwan’s legislature, and continuing to do so in the future, would send a strong message to Beijing.
“Beijing does not even abide by its own laws and constitution. How could it make Taiwan believe that it would follow the agreements it signed with us or in this regime? This is a message that must be spread,” Yang said.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that 27 years could see an authoritarian state transform into a democratic one.
“Twenty-seven years after democracy pioneer Lei Chen’s (雷震) arrest [in 1960], martial law was lifted; 27 years after Peng Ming-min’s (彭明敏) ‘Declaration of Formosan Self-salvation’ [in 1964], the legislature was finally completely re-elected; 27 years after Deng Nan-jung’s (鄭南榕) self-immolation for freedom of speech [in 1989], which is this year, the main opposition party took power for the second time, consolidating a true democracy as it is widely defined,” Kuan said.
“We would be glad to see Taiwan’s experience be [useful or an encouragement] for the effort of Chinese democratization,” she added.
New Power Party Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, who said she was representing the party caucus, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) were among the endorsers of the motion.
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