News / Asia

Chinese Dissident Cites Tiananmen in Praising Taiwan Democracy

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng gives a speech on "Human Rights and Cross-Strait Peace" at Taiwan Parliament in Taipei, June 25, 2013.
Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng gives a speech on "Human Rights and Cross-Strait Peace" at Taiwan Parliament in Taipei, June 25, 2013.
Reuters
Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng said on Tuesday that the pushing and shoving that comes with Taiwan's raucous democracy was superior to “having tanks going rampant on the streets and squares," referring to China's 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on protesters.
 
Chen, who was invited to Taiwan by a human rights group, sparked a diplomatic crisis between the United States and China after he fled house arrest in China and sought refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

He has been a research fellow at New York University Law School since he flew to the United States in May 2012. Chen has accused NYU of bowing to Chinese pressure to ask him to leave. On Monday, he refused to shed light on the issue.
 
“Taiwan's experience is a valuable asset. A good use of it could let China get rid of dictatorship and walk on the path to democracy more easily,'' Chen told reporters.
 
“It's better to have pushing and shoving in a parliament hall than having tanks going rampant on the streets and squares.''
 
He said civil awareness in China had risen a lot and China today was like Taiwan in the early 1980s, laying down the basis for democracy.
 
China had warned Chen to mind his language and protect China's “dignity'' on his visit to self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own and insists must unite with the mainland, by force if necessary.
 
Chen, who has been blind since childhood, is a self-schooled legal advocate who campaigned against forced abortions. He was jailed for four years on charges that he and his supporters said were spurious, and then held in his village home for 19 months after being released.
 
Public discussion of the Tiananmen Square crackdown is still taboo in China, where on June 3 and June 4, 1989, its leaders ordered troops to open fire on demonstrators and sent in tanks to crush a student-led campaign movement, killing hundreds.
 
China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists.
 
When asked about Chen's comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “Every Chinese citizen has the duty and responsibility to abide by China's constitution and law, and should not say or do things that harm China's national interests.''
 
Taiwan began dismantling the structures of decades of iron-fisted rule by Nationalist dictator Chiang Kai-shek in the 1980s, allowing the formation of new political parties and replacing appointed politicians with elected ones.
 
The reforms spawned a feisty brand of democracy. It is common for lawmakers to shout and punch their way through parliament sessions while voting and approving laws.
 
Taiwan regularly plays host to people China despises, including exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. It is also home to two leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests who escaped China - Wang Dan and Wu'er Kaixi.
 
On Tuesday, about 30 to 40 lawmakers shoved each other in parliament while arguing over a cross-straits services agreement. A legislator from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, a man, grabbed the arm of a female legislator from the Nationalist Party, who started crying.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid