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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs