Man vandalizes Tiananmen Square crackdown memorial venue in Taiwan

06/04/2021 11:08 PM
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A picture stand in a memorial tent for the Tiananmen Square incident is seen lying on the floor on June 4 after being vandalized by an unidentified man. (Photo courtesy of the New School for Democracy)
A picture stand in a memorial tent for the Tiananmen Square incident is seen lying on the floor on June 4 after being vandalized by an unidentified man. (Photo courtesy of the New School for Democracy)

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) A canopy tent set up by civil groups at Freedom Square in Taipei City for the public to pay tribute to the victims of the June 4th, 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing was vandalized by an unidentified man Friday.

Richa Guo (郭歷軒), campaign manager of the New School for Democracy (NSD), one of the organizers of this year's commemoration event for victims of the crackdown, told CNA that the incident happened around 8 p.m.

Three people approached the pavilion at that time, when the memorial event was about to end, and one of them suddenly knocked over the decorations in the venue, he said, adding that the other two filmed the incident.

The attacker was immediately apprehended by police officers at the scene and was brought to the nearby police precinct, Guo said.

In a press statement, NSD chairman Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元) said he will file charges against the attacker and stressed that violence, whether during the Tiananmen Square crackdown or the assault in the pavilion, has no place in a democratic society.

A police officer confirmed with CNA that a man in his 40s was apprehended in relation with the incident.

However, according to the police officer, the man, who seemed mentally unstable, said he committed the assault due to his displeasure with the government's vaccine policy.

CNA photo June 4, 2021
CNA photo June 4, 2021

Meanwhile, an annual vigil to commemorate the crackdown was held virtually this year from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan.

Wu Renhua (吳仁華), a scholar and witness to the crackdown, said the appeasement policy of western countries on China after the crackdown has led to China's rapid economic development, which is in turn used by China to threaten democracy.

He said by remembering the people who lost their lives during the crackdown, young generations nowadays should realize that the autocratic regime in China has not changed over the past 32 years and do more to help China transform into a democratic country.

In a pre-recorded video message, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) condemned the Chinese government for not reflecting on its mistakes 32 years ago and instead intensifying its attack on democracy.

He urged all countries which cherish peace and democracy to unite against "autocratic China" and help the Chinese people enjoy freedom, democracy and rule-of-law at the earliest possible time.

Wu'er Kaixi (吾爾開希), a student leader during the 1989 pro-democracy movement, along with other Tiananmen crackdown survivors, human rights advocates and Taiwanese legislators also shared their thoughts on the occasion.

The Tiananmen Square crackdown, also known as the June Fourth Incident, occurred on June 4, 1989 in Beijing, when thousands of student-led demonstrators calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China were brutally crushed by the military.

Estimates of the number of deaths related to the incident range from a few hundred to several thousand due to the lack of concrete proof and records.

(By Lai Yen-hsi and Emerson Lim)

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