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Hundreds commemorate Tiananmen anniversary in Taipei

2012/06/04 23:44:19

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) Some 300 people attended a candlelight vigil and concert in Taipei on Monday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and to support democracy in China.

Participants held candles and observed a one-minute silence to pay tribute to the victims of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

Tsai Chia-hsuan, head of a Taiwanese student group for the promotion of democracy in China, said his group organized the event this year in the form of a concert, featuring music and singing, to attract more young people.

"The June Fourth Incident is very distant to many Taiwanese youth," Tsai said, adding that he hopes the event can raise awareness about the incident among Taiwanese young people.

"We have organized this event because human rights, freedom and democracy are common values and the 'bottom line' for the Taiwanese people, regardless of their political beliefs,"said Tsai.

He said his group believes that any political or economic talks between Taiwan and China should be based on these values and that a human rights clause should be included on the list of items to be negotiated between the two sides.

A video about the massacre was shown at the event, followed by speeches and performances by music groups, including exiled Chinese rock bank Pangu and Taiwanese band O Lang Im Gak Sia.

Chinese pro-democracy activist Wang Dan, a student leader at the Tiananmen Square protest, said through a video that the Tiananmen Square Massacre should "not only concern China"but also concern the world as it was"a violation against universal values."

Wang said for Taiwan to become a more sophisticated democracy, it has the responsibility to pay attention to problems in China.

"This is the historic meaning of commemorating the June Fourth Incident in Taipei today,"said Wang.

He said the example of Taiwan's 228 Incident shows that, no matter how long it takes,"the fairness and justice in society will be realized."He expressed the same hope for the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Chinese society.

The 228 Incident was an anti-government uprising in 1947 that was brutally suppressed by the Kuomintang government.

Wu'erkaixi, another former student leader at the Tiananmen Square protest, told the crowds in Taipei that "the cost of freedom is high" and said he hoped people in Taiwan could see the value of freedom.

He also said he hopes victims of the massacre "could feel that their sacrifice has been worth it" on this day.

Yang Chih-tou, a political science student from National Taiwan University who came to the event with several of his classmates, said it is his second year participating in the vigil and that he has come because he hopes to "bring about some changes in China's democracy."

"It is a very precious experience for us because we didn't expect to hear a speech from Wu'erkaixi, who is often banned from entering Hong Kong," said Ho Man Wai, a 20-year-old Hong Kong student visiting Taiwan on a three-week education program.

Her friend Kwan Hoi Wang said that although Hong Kong and Taiwan have different historical backgrounds, "the two sides are pursuing the same goal (of democracy)."

The Tiananmen Incident remains a taboo in China.

The Chinese government put the official death toll at 23, but the media and other sources estimated that between 800 and 3,000 people lost their lives after troops and tanks fired on the hundreds of thousands of protesters.

(By Christie Chen)