Welcome to the World Wide Web Home page of Road to East Asia
Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
Vol.2, no. 2, January-February, 1997
As expected, the Dalai Lama and a source from Taiwan praised the martyrs at Tiananmen Square. For years, both Tibet and the Taipei government have demanded autonomy from Beijing. The Peking Massacre, published in Taiwan, maintains that "The democracy movement on mainland has already rung the death knell for the despotic regime of the Chinese Communists" (16). Last year the Dalai Lama disseminated his message to the world on the Internet: "Chinese patriots with courage and vision are continuing the struggle for justice, freedom and democracy at great personal risks."
My personal optimism is sparked by some undying struggles - - disorganized though they may be -- against all odds for a positive eventual outcome. I do believe that the democracy movement has set an irreversible process in motion. Wei Jingsheng, for one, "is admired around the world for his courage in advocating democracy for China," says Voice of America, an Internet resource. "When he was released in September 1993, he resumed speaking out." As a result, Wei was sentenced to another prison term in 1995.
Other recent Internet sources document the underground activities of Liu Xiaobo, Wan Dan, Chen Ziming, and Liu Nianchun since 1989 although Beijing has reinforced of its military and exerted tighter control over the news media. These changes can only bring short-term success, according to Peking Massacre, because no force, no matter how strongly it is applied, can extinguish the basic human desire for freedom.
The horror of the Tiananmen Tragedy has shocked the whole world, and the democracy movement should be a wake-up call for the international community. China's political future has an important bearing on world peace and security. There are numerous petitions outside China for the release of the prisoners of conscience. For example, Francis Lau, who lives in Hong Kong, launched a campaign in August, 1995 on Chen Ziming's behalf, according to an Internet source.
In conclusion, I subscribe to Liu Binyan's belief that "The Chinese people are one step closer to the freedom they have dreamt" (1990, p. 283) after the Tiananmen incident. The student movement shows that the Chinese people no longer rely on fate to free themselves from political persecution. They have come to realize that participation in the way the country is governed is the only means to bring about democracy.
Liu, Binyan. A Higher Kind of Loyalty. Trans. Zhu Hong. New York: Pantheon Books, 1990.
The Peking Massacre. Taiwan: Kwang Hwa Publishing Co., 1989.
Illustration by Julie Shim