World must not forget Tiananmen Square Incident: Taiwan professor

The memorial event held in Taipei in 2019 / CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — A Taiwanese scholar said Wednesday that the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989 must not be allowed to fade from the minds of people as China would wish, because it is relevant to those seeking security and democracy today.

Currently, China would like to erase the memory of the Tiananmen Square Incident, Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), a professor at National Tsing Hua University, said at a seminar in Taipei to mark the 31st anniversary of the incident, in which hundreds of unarmed protesters, calling for more rights and freedoms, were killed in Beijing.

“We will remember and won’t forget the June 4 Incident, however, because we are willing to help promote democracy in China,” Chen said at the seminar, which was attended by scholars and lawmakers and hosted by the New School for Democracy in Taipei.

Citing the results of a survey conducted annually by Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology to assess the views of the Taiwan public on China-related issues, Chen said 73 percent of Taiwanese do not perceive the Chinese government as “a friend” to Taiwan, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year.

Around 84 percent of those who have that perception are young adults between 18 and 34 years old, Chen said, citing the China Impact Survey.

Against that backdrop, it is strategically important for Taiwan to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Incident, he said.

“Only through the democratization of China can Taiwan gain maximum security guarantee and Hong Kong obtain freedom,” said Chen, a former deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

He said not only the people of Taiwan, but those throughout the world should remember what happened on that fateful day in June 1989 and why.

“Taiwanese need to remind the world that the Chinese troops opened fire on their own people and ran over their students and citizens, who were seeking human rights and democracy, with tanks,'” Chen said.

Also speaking at the seminar, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) urged the international community not to yield to China’s economic and political pressure and to rally behind Taiwan.

The whole world will side with Taiwan if it supports the people of Hong Kong and the pro-democracy activists in China in their battle against Beijing and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Fan said.

Meanwhile, the MAC said Beijing should learn from the Tiananmen Square Incident and release Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) as soon as possible.

Lee was detained in China in March 2017, after which he was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of subversion of state power on accusations of disseminating information against the Chinese government and supporting relatives of Chinese dissidents.