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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid