Taiwan president criticizes Beijing for hiding truth of Tiananmen Square massacre

Vice President Chen Chien-jen to attend commemorative event held in Taipei

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President Tsai Ing-wen (Source: Presidential Office)

President Tsai Ing-wen (Source: Presidential Office)

[Last update: June 4 at 17:00]

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Speaking on the day that marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 in Beijing, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) criticized the Chinese government for continuously covering up the truth of the protests and military crackdown thirty years ago, while pledging to safeguard Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.

On Tuesday (June 4) morning via Facebook, Tsai posted an illustration of her and a group of people holding candles in tribute to the unarmed demonstrators that were killed during the Tiananmen Square massacre three decades ago. The image was created by JieJie & UncleCat, a Taiwan-Hong Kong graphic design duo that have been vocal of the political situations in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“Whether a nation is civilized or not depends on how the government [of that nation] treats its people and deals with its past mistakes,” said Tsai in the post.

The world is still seeking the truth about the loss of thousands of young people during the June Fourth Incident, but the Chinese authorities have shown no remorse for the violent crackdown to this day and continue to cover up the truth, said Tsai. “I believe people pursuing freedom and democracy around the world will never agree with such practices,” she added.

In a clear reference to the former student activist of the 1989 protests, Feng Congde (封從德), who was denied entry to Hong Kong on June 2 over his plans to take part in the annual vigil held at Victoria Park on June 4, Tsai once again dismissed the “one country, two systems,” a political arrangement imposed on Hong Kong when the United Kingdom handed the city-state over to China in 1997.

Hong Kong’s gradual loss of freedom shows that “democracy and authoritarianism cannot co-exist in one country,” said Tsai.

The president also pledged to hold onto Taiwan’s democracy and freedom as long as she is the president serving the country, in spite of threats and subversion perpetrated by Beijing.

In a rare move, unprecedented among her predecessors, Tsai has met twice with former student activists and participants of the Tiananmen Square protests over the last week. The arrangement angered the Chinese authorities, which criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government for escalating confrontation between Taipei and Beijing.

The effort to focus more attention on the June Fourth Incident among Taiwan’s leadership does not stop with Tsai. To honor those who lost their lives during the protests calling for democracy and freedom of the speech in 1989, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) will deliver remarks at an event held on Tuesday evening at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as a member of the Presidential Office Human Rights Consultative Committee.