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Tiananmen crackdown will not be forgotten, says new Taiwan president

Photo: Ng Han Guan Associated Press In Tiananmen Square, groups of tourists were seen Tuesday morning posing next to the mausoleum of Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung.

France Media Agency to Taipei

Published at 12:29 a.m.

  • Asia

The repression of Tiananmen Square in Beijing by the Chinese government will not disappear “in the torrent of history”, said the new Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on Tuesday for the 35th anniversary of the event.

“The memories of June 4 will not disappear in the torrent of history and we will continue to work hard to keep this historical memory alive”, for “all those who are attached to Chinese democracy”, wrote on Facebook M . Lai, who took office in May.

“Because this reminds us that democracy and freedom are not easy to achieve, we must […] respond to autocracy with freedom and confront the rise of authoritarianism with courage,” the leader added.

On June 4, 1989, China sent troops and tanks against pro-democracy and peaceful demonstrators in Beijing's main central square to end weeks of protests calling for political change.

Hundreds of people, even more than a thousand by some estimates, were killed.

The subject is particularly sensitive for China's communist leaders and any mention of repression is strictly censored in the country.

Many young Chinese today are unaware of this part of Chinese history due to this censorship.

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“The Voice of the People”

In Taipei, an annual vigil is planned for Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. at the memorial of Chiang Kai-shek.

China considers that Taiwan is one of its provinces, which it has not yet succeeded in reunifying with its territory since the end of the civil war and the communists coming to power in Beijing in 1949.

Beijing accused President Lai Ching-te of pushing the island towards “war”, accusing him of being a “dangerous separatist”, and in May organized large-scale military maneuvers around of Taiwan.

Mr. Lai's Democratic Progressive Party defends the sovereignty of Taiwan, which has its own government, army and currency.

“A truly respectable country is a country where people speak out,” Lai wrote in his post on Tuesday.

“Any regime must confront the voice of the people, especially the younger generation, because social change often depends on diverse opinions,” added the Taiwanese leader.

“In the future, we will continue to join forces to strengthen democracy in Taiwan, and work with countries that share the same values ​​to build a better world. »

Beijing claimed in 1989 to have put an end to “counter-revolutionary riots” in what outside the country was seen as a massacre of innocents, including many students.

Asked about the 35th anniversary on Monday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Beijing had “long ago reached a clear conclusion regarding the political unrest that occurred in the late 1980s.”

Tourists in photos

In Tiananmen Square, groups of tourists wearing matching neon headwear were seen Tuesday morning posing next to the mausoleum of Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung, amid a large but not unusual security presence.< /p>

Access to the largest square in the world, which is bordered by numerous official buildings as well as the Forbidden City, is strictly controlled at all times and requires authorization.

In Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to China in 1997, an eighth person was arrested on Monday, in connection with a new national security law, for messages posted on the networks concerning the anniversary of the repression.

Hong Kong was for a long time the only place in China where the commemoration of the massacre of June 4, 1989 was tolerated.

But these commemorations, often in the form of candlelight vigils in tribute to the many protesters killed, were banned from 2020 when Beijing imposed a very restrictive security law, following a wave of giant and sometimes pro-democracy demonstrations. violent.

A local Christian weekly, the Christian Times, left its front page almost empty in its Saturday edition and wrote that it could not “respond to the current situation that by replacing the paragraphs with blanks”, in a society which had become so “restrictive”.

The retrocession agreement guaranteed in principle an extensive regime of freedoms in the 'former colony until 2047.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116