Taiwan Calls on China to Heal Tiananmen Wounds, Seek Democracy

  • Tsai says China will earn respect by granting more rights
  • Taiwan’s lawmakers commemorate June 4 for first time

Taiwan’s newly sworn-in president urged China to heal the wounds of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and to cherish dissent.

Tsai Ing-wen, who has been in office for two weeks, said in a Facebook post that “as president, I don’t mean to criticize the political system on the other side of the strait. Instead, I’m willing to share, with heartfelt sincerity, Taiwan’s experience in democratization.”

Taiwan lawmakers for the first time held a commemoration in the legislature on the 27th anniversary of the crackdown, calling on China’s government to admit mistakes, identify those accountable and apologize. The Legislative Yuan advised Taiwan’s government to strengthen its monitoring of human rights-related issues in cross-strait exchanges, according to legislator Yu Mei-nu, who helped organize the commemoration on Friday. The event included representatives from Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition.

Tsai said while economic growth had improved the lives of people in China, there is “internal pressure for political and social transformation.” China would earn more respect if it could grant its people more rights, she said.

“Only China’s ruling party can heal the wounds of its people,” Tsai said. “My responsibility is to safeguard the democracy and freedom of Taiwanese people, to build peaceful, stable, consistent and predictable cross-strait relations.”

“I hope both sides will share same view about democracy and human rights some day in the future,”Tsai said.

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