News / Asia

Tiananmen Square Dissident Fears More Bloodshed In China

FILE - Students demonstrators scuffle with police as they try to break the guard line to march to the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, April 27, 1989.
FILE - Students demonstrators scuffle with police as they try to break the guard line to march to the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, April 27, 1989.
Ralph Jennings
Next month marks the 25th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on dissent in Beijing. China is unlikely to acknowledge the incident on June 4, 1989, which left hundreds or more dead around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. But survivors of the student democracy movement have hardly forgotten.
 
One protest leader, Wu’er Kaixi, lives in exile in Taipei, where he works in finance. The 46-year-old ethnic Uighur, who was born in Beijing, fears China has changed little. He said the country may face more bloodshed as people get fed up with domestic problems such as corruption. He spoke to Ralph Jennings in Taipei about the Tiananmen anniversary, the unrest involving Uighurs in western China’s Xinjiang region and whether he thinks he can ever return to his ancestral land. 
  
Q: What has changed, what hasn’t changed in China and what does that mean?
 
A: Look at China. A lot of people would say China is very different today than it was 25 years ago. Twenty-five years make a lot of developing countries very different, both in the economic and socio-political aspects. However, it is also important to see what didn’t change in China. China remains, at least to me, still the totalitarian regime blocking me from going back to my home. They are still the Chinese government who ordered the (June 4, 1989) massacre not been held accountable for. They are still the same government trying to use every available means, often very brutal and iron-handed means, to suppress dissent, persecute dissidents. They probably have improved their technique. They probably have some artificial differences. For instance, today the police wear different uniforms and they are perhaps more professional, but the fundamental core is very much the same. It is a totalitarian regime. It’s a police state. It is a state where we do not have freedom of expression.
 
The biggest sensation I have is that it’s been 25 years. It’s a little too long for the things that didn’t change. It’s a little too long for me to be in exile. It’s a quarter of a century. In 1989 we started a campaign against communist totalitarianism under the flag of democracy. I don’t think we should be kept waiting for another 25 years.
 
Q: What has allowed China to not change over such a long period?
 
A: Deng Xiaoping basically turned China into capitalism and it partially answered our demand in 1989. I call it a deal the Chinese Communist Party has struck with the Chinese people, that is to give Chinese people economic freedom in exchange with political cooperation. It’s a lousy deal, but nevertheless the deal worked, but the question is for how long. The Chinese government is also realizing the deal they have struck in 1992 is expiring. They need to come up with something new.
 
Q: How do you know from the popular point of view that the deal is expiring?
 
A: Many different sectors of the society have come to the point of exploding. I’m pretty sure the Communist Party is well aware of the danger of total collapse. They admit that they’re also doing a lot of things about it, for instance their campaign of anti-corruption. But in China the corruption is systematic. The Chinese Communist Party built a structure to allow them to loot China legally. When they are waving the flag of anti-corruption they are basically just trimming a poisonous tree, one or two of the branches that is out of the seam. They are not really curing the problem.
 
Q: What does it take to go from today, a lot of discontent, to a situation where people are doing things to change things?
 
A: There is no way to stop the corruption, the greed. These things happen sometimes almost coincidentally. Then there are hundreds of thousands of incidents reported in China every year. They call it social unrest. Which one will become the next thing, I don’t know. For instance, the one in Shanghai; a couple of years ago there was a fire that took place and many people died. It’s a public hazard issue, but tens of thousands of people went on the street.
 
There are also signs the Communist Party wants to be in control of the social change. They may even initiate it. They did that before, in 1979, when Deng Xiaoping had the ‘open and reform’ policy. It gave the Communist Party 35 more years. If they’re smart enough, and I hope they are, maybe they can avoid a revolution-like change of the society.
 
Q: For people such as yourself, who are exiled to different parts of the world, do you think there is one sentiment that is crossing people’s minds around this time?
 
A: Return to China. Living in exile, we lost our stage. Back in 1989 we were important because we were on Tiananmen. If we can emerge ourselves onto that main stage, then we have a role. Definitely we are determined dissidents, true believers in democracy. We will pursue this idea at all costs.
 
Q: At all costs, like what? What’s your next move?
 
A: Freedom. Exile is in no way an ideal life for anybody. Exile is a mental torture. The will of ending the exile is very strong. My struggle to end my exile, to go home to see my aging parents, will not stop.
 
I have to refrain from talking about the details of my operations, but basically the idea is in 1989 we called for dialogue. We want to sit the Chinese government down and tell them we have a say on the table. We want to take part in the decision-making, policy-shifting. I will continue seeking every opportunity to initiate that counter-talk that we demanded 25 years ago, even if that counter-talk has to take place in a Chinese courtroom. Even if it has to come in the form of indictment and plea, I am willing to carry on the mission that we started 25 years ago.
 
Q: What will the anniversary itself do? Will it change anything, or just be another day on the calendar?
 
A: If there’s anything we’ve learned in exile it's to stop making predictions in China. Even if it’s just a day on the calendar on the wall, that calendar on the wall in front of people’s faces is a reminder of unfinished business. They will tighten their security. That is unfortunate. If the Chinese regime is smart enough to do this, this would be a good day to make peace with your own horrible history.
 
Q: Do you follow the events in Xinjiang? What do you expect as the fallout?
 
A: It’s a very sad situation in Xinjiang these days in my home country. Those are terrorist attacks where you kill innocent people, bystanders. But I really hope people can see beyond that and realize this is the last call of a despaired nation, an ethnic group that is giving up on life. It’s also a suicide attack. And it has been repeating. Uighur people are committing suicide these days. When they decide to take their own lives they want to take a few Chinese people together with them. It’s a very sad fact. It may keep happening.
 
Chinese also control their borders. They don’t want them to just leave. And it’s hard for the rest of the world to accept Uighurs as refugees.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 30, 2014 10:03 AM
in the picture, those policemen had no guns with them. it would be very hard to imagine that ameircan police would deploy without guns. thats the difference between china and america, but still america is trying to call china oppressive, how ironic! China is getting richer and more powerful, chinese ppl is having better life standard day by day. good job communist party!

In Response

by: Tuan from: Vietnam
May 30, 2014 6:47 PM
What's wrong with this gay? If guns allowed in China, many people die.

In a steel plan in China, an iron pot tipped over, 30 people died. Chinese leaders sacrafied human life to bring dollars home. That's the quality of life this gay talking about.

Keep smoking weed kid!


by: Neil from: perth
May 30, 2014 3:58 AM
I hope i could see the day that we can express ourselves freely

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid