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Commemorate Tienanmen Incident in Taipei’s Freedom Square
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-03 03:58 PM
June 4 is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Incident, and Taipei’s Freedom Square will offer people a chance to stop and ponder the significance of what happened on that day and how people everywhere can work to promote democracy in China. The Chinese Academy of Democracy and other organizations will be observing the anniversary at Freedom Square in the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, where they will put up an image 7 meters high and 12 meters wide showing tanks in Tiananmen Square on that fateful day,

Yang Hsien-hung, chairman of the Human Rights League, expressed his hope that everyone will see the image of Tiananmen Square and tanks and acknowledge that “everyone who passes by Tienanmen Square must be a ‘tank man’” – a reference to a citizen of Beijing who stood in front of a column of advancing tanks and forced it to stop temporarily. Yang mocked political figures who expressed their sympathy and solidarity for the people of Tienanmen at the time but now travel to China regularly and show no expression at all when they pass by the square. For them, said Yang, he has eight words to say: “On every June 4, it’s like nothing happened."

Representatives of the Taiwanese Students Working to Promote Democratization in China, the Chinese Academy of Democracy, the Taiwan Coalition Concerned for Human Rights in China, the Taiwan Platform to Protect Democracy and other organizations held a press conference in the Legislative Yuan Tuesday morning to announce that beginning at 19:00 Wednesday they would be encouraging everyone be “be a Tank Man when you pass Tienanmen Square."

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin recounted that she wept in 1989 when she learned what had happened at Tiananmen. She said she understood how the students felt when the tanks showed up. 25 years later, she said, unfortunately many people in Taiwan not only the envy China for its achievements in the last quarter of a century, they even say that Taiwan is “too democratic.”

Why, asked Tien, should Taiwanese care about June 4? She said they should care because being concerned about democracy in China is being concerned about democracy in Taiwan. She said China's experience may become Taiwan's experience.

Yang Hsien-hung encouraged people to inspect the huge image of tanks in Freedom Square and to show their solidarity with June 4 by taking pictures in front of the image. He said this is a chance for everyone to show their approval of the saying, “everyone who passes Tiananmen Square is a Tank Man."

Yang also disclosed that former President Lee Teng-hui, who was in office during the period when the Tiananmen incident took place, has prepared a written statement for release on June 4. Lee will express his personal views about the incident and its significance for people 25 years later.

Kuo Yu-chien of Taiwanese Students Working to Promote Democratization in China pointed out that human rights and freedoms do not just materialize out of thin air. He quoted Chinese democracy activist Chen Guangcheng and his statement that "If you do not force democracy on China, China will force dictatorship on you." Guo also invited President Ma Ying-jeou to make an appearance at the event. He said the group had not received a response and did not know if Ma would show up, but repeated his call that the president would be welcome at the event.

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