Friday, January 27, 2012

Wang Dan, activists call for Want Want boycott

Maybe it’s only for his business interests, but Tsai Eng-meng has an uncanny ability to look the other way when it would be inconvenient to acknowledge Beijing’s dark side

One of the top student leaders during the protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989 has called for a boycott of the China Times after the wealthy entrepreneur who owns the publication denied the crackdown by the Chinese military constituted a massacre.

Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明, pictured above, standing), chairman and chief executive of the Want Want Group (旺旺集團), which owns the China Times, told the Washington Post in an interview published last Saturday that the crackdown on June 4 was “no massacre.”

Tsai told my friend Andrew Higgins of the Post that he had been struck by footage of the lone protester standing in front of a People’s Liberation Army tank — a now iconic image of the crackdown — and added that the fact that the man was not killed was proof that reports of a massacre were false.

Several hundred unarmed protesters, including students, were brutally killed in the government response to the protests.

“I realized that not that many people could really have died,” Tsai said, echoing Beijing’s propaganda in the weeks after the crackdown, which said the tank incident was proof that the military had acted with humanity against the demonstrators.

Wang Dan (王丹), one of the student leaders at Tiananmen Square who now lives in Taiwan, was among many who reacted angrily to Tsai’s remarks.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. The Facebook link to the boycott of Want Want Group products.

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