Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Pro-democracy advocates and activists marked the 30th anniversary of the Tianamen Incident at an international conference in Taipei Saturday, urging the world not to forget the bloody crackdown and keep on working toward the sustainable growth of democracy around the world.
Larry Diamond, a professor of sociology and political science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, said at the conference that China has tried to systematically erase the world's memories of the student-led pro-democracy uprising that took place on Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.
To serve that end, China has been using a united front strategy and penetration schemes to purchase media and lobby politicians as part of efforts to wreck democratic systems around the world, according to Diamond.
In contrast to working via soft power that seeks to persuade foreign societies in an open and democratic way, China has employed "sharp power" using money to threaten, bribe or suppress opinions that are against it, Diamond told the seminar that was hosted by the Hong Kong- based New School for Democracy and Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HKASPDMC).
In view of this, he urged democratic societies around the world to exercise vigilance.
Speaking at a news conference prior to the opening of the three- day conference, HKASPDMC head Albert Ho Chun-yan (何俊仁) said that 2019 also marked the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement -- an anti-imperialist, cultural and political movement that grew out of student protests in Beijing May 4, 1919.
Over the past 100 years, many people have pursued efforts to transform China into a democratic society, Ho said.
However, under the current rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the Cultural Revolution and an "imperial regime" have returned to China, he said, voicing his hope that China will conduct political reform.
The reason why the conference was held this year in Taiwan is because many speakers were denied entry to Hong Kong by Beijing, he noted.
Wang Dan (王丹), one of the student leaders in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests who is now living in exile in the United States, said the essence of the conference can be summarized as "never forget, never give up, reunite and restart."
"We hope that the world's memories (of the Tiananmen Incident) can be refreshed and rebuilt through this conference," Wang said. "Many who participated in the protests are still upholding their ideals and moving forward," he said.
On its website, the organizer of the International Academic Conference on "Value Renewal and Path-Finding for China's Pro-Democracy Movement" said as follows:
"The Tiananmen Incident, with its immense global impact, is now approaching its 30th anniversary. As the Chinese authorities have listed the event as taboo for open discussion, its complete true picture has not been fully made known.
"This conference intends to call upon the international community to engage in serious study to consider China's political developments and deliberate on the approaches of its pro-democracy movement under the present challenging circumstances, so as to gather momentum for the sustainable global development of democracy."