Yesterday, on the 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen urged China to finally come to terms with what happened in Beijing on June 4th, 1989 and to follow in Taiwan’s footsteps in embracing democracy.
In a statement to mark the anniversary posted on her Facebook account, Tsai wrote that the student protesters of 1989 had “inspired a generation” before challenging Beijing to “face up to June 4th with an open mind” and move towards democracy, as Taiwan did decades ago.
“For democracy: some are early, others are late, but we will all get there in the end,” Tsai wrote, adding that Taiwan was willing to aid in this transition for the mainland.
“Borrowing on Taiwan’s experience, I believe that China can shorten the pain of democratic reform,” she continued. “When there is democracy ahead, no country can walk backward.”
Not surprisingly, Beijing did not take kindly to Tsai’s suggestions. China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunyang responded to the Taiwanese president, saying, “I hope you can pay more attention to the positive changes happening in all levels of Chinese society.”
Meanwhile, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office stated that only mainland Chinese had the right to speak on mainland affairs, adding that the “values and ideas” of Tsai’s (independence-leaning) Democratic Progressive Party have caused chaos in Taiwan since her election last year, and that China did not want to follow her example. The office also suggested that Tsai had more important things to focus on at this time, such as “widespread discontent” in Taiwan.
“We are closer than any other point in history to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people,” added office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang in a statement to Reuters.
By Caroline Roy
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