Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chinese activists facing tough times

While in the past, allegations of corruption against Chen Shui-bian were used to discredit DPP members, it now looks like the Chen tar baby can also serve as a means to undermine those whom Beijing regards as its enemies

Barely a day has gone by in recent weeks without a report from China of police rounding up dissidents or religious figures as part of measures adopted by Beijing to stave off a so-called “Jasmine Revolution.”

For those on the receiving end of the repressive state apparatus, one small country across the Taiwan Strait has served as a beacon of hope — and in some cases as a refuge — for Chinese activists. A few received political asylum in Taiwan following the brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

Among those who made a new home in Taiwan while continuing the fight for freedom in China was Wang Dan (王丹, seen above, foreground, accompanied by Wuer Kaixi), one of the student leaders of the Chinese democracy movement at Tiananmen Square, a role that landed him several years in prison before he went into exile in the US. Soon after receiving his doctorate at Harvard, Wang moved to Taiwan.

In Taiwan, Wang found not only an audience that was receptive to his views, but also support and a sense of security. It can be said that Wang had found a safe haven that allowed him to continue his advocacy for political freedom in China.

Then Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) stepped into the Presidential Office on May 20, 2008, with a mandate to improve relations with China.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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