Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen (???) marked the 29th anniversary of the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989 Monday by sharing Taiwan's democratic experience with Chinese people on her Facebook page, using simplified Chinese characters.
Chinese netizens who visit her Facebook page will find that it is a space where people can voice criticism or write words of encouragement, representing a "microcosm of Taiwan's democratic politics," according to Tsai.
Taiwan does not have software configured to censor sensitive words or phrases, nor does it have a firewall to impose internet censorship and thus there is no need for netizens to use virtual private network (VPN) services to bypass firewalls, she said.
"This is our way of living," Tsai said. "This is because a democratic system that allows for this way of living has been well-established in Taiwan."
Tsai attributed the movement toward Taiwan's democratization and political reform to the social momentum built up during the 228 Incident of 1947 and the Kaohsiung Incident of 1979, the pro-democracy movements that she said were once defined as "riots" by former regimes.
Through years of effort, Taiwan recently set up the Transitional Justice Commission to investigate human rights abuses perpetuated by the state during the authoritarian period, uncover the truth about political repression, ease the pain of victims, bring animosity to an end, and consolidate the democratic system, she said.
Compared with Taiwan, the history of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement -- which triggered the Chinese government to order the military to crack down on students and ordinary people with lethal force -- is still characterized as an act of government quelling riots, Tsai said.
"Over the decades, China is still haunted by the tragedy," she said.
Tsai added that she believes the tragedy can be turned into a foundation upon which China can move toward a society that embraces freedom and democracy should Beijing face up to history and admit its use of state violence on its citizens in Tiananmen Square.
"I hope one day Chinese netizens can access my Facebook page without having to use VPN. I hope the universal values of freedom and democracy can be enjoyed by people on both sides of the [Taiwan] strait, which would allow for greater room for mutual understanding and cooperation between both sides," Tsai said.
These are goals that the governments on both sides can work together to achieve, she said.
Meanwhile, her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said in a statement that Taiwan will continue to share its democratization experience with the Chinese people to encourage them to have the courage to pursue what it described as the universal values of freedom, rule of law, human rights and a better life.
"We believe that the Chinese people will not relinquish efforts to pursue democracy and freedom. The future of China lies in the hands of each of its citizens, who are unswerving in their advocacy of freedom and democracy," it said.
The DPP also called for Beijing to release Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (???), who is in jail in China for his advocacy of democracy, as soon as possible, to show that it is willing to practice more tolerance toward dissidents.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel