While human rights activists in Taiwan on Friday (Feb. 25) voiced support for China’s Jasmine Revolution and urged the Taiwan government to clearly state its stance to China on democracy and human rights, Beijing officials again attributed the unrest to insufficient management of social problems.
A microblog post called for demonstrators in China to gather last Sunday (Feb. 20) in 13 Chinese cities to call for “food, jobs, living space and fairness and justice.” The movement, described as the “Chinese Jasmine Revolution,” ended with arrests of activists and a wave of internet censorship. In the past week posts circulating on the internet have hinted at a second wave of the movement this Sunday (Feb. 27).
In a press conference held at Taiwan’s legislature on Friday, local human rights groups said a democratic China would serve Taiwan’s interests.
Yang Hsien-hung, president of the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights (TACHR), urged the Taiwan government to actively voice its opinions on human rights and democracy and make clear that it will not hold any political dialogue unless China addresses these issues. “President Ma Ying-jeou as a head of state should have the courage to single out China’s human rights problems,” Yang said.
Ruan Ming, a former Chinese Communist scholar who is now a Taiwan citizen, said that “China and other authoritative regimes are witnessing a new era of political movements driven by the youth, who present their ideology on the internet.”
The political movement that has swept through Africa and the Middle East is destined to arrive in China eventually, Ruan said, adding that even though the number of protestors this past week may be small, “the Chinese government is obviously nervous.”
John CF Wei, a human rights attorney, urged the Chinese government to initiate dialogue with dissidents and called on the people of Taiwan people to pay attention and support human rights and peaceful democratic movements in China.
“A collapsed China is not necessarily a good thing for Taiwan,” he said, alluding to the economic consequences for the country if China became unstable.
Chang Tieh-chih, a well-known cultural and political critic, warned that people in Taiwan know too little about China, adding that the crackdown on dissidents and the censorship of internet search engines and web forums show that “China might be powerful on the outside but is in fact fragile on the inside.”
“No one can predict when a revolution will happen,” he said.
While Chang said that the social situation in China has reached boiling point and the Chinese people are now more courageous than ever in voicing their opinions, top-ranking leaders like Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao have called for effective “social management” to tame people’s anger.
Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, ordered governments at various levels to introduce measures to improve people’s livelihood, in order to maintain public order and security.
A former minister of pubic security, Zhou’s remarks came days after President Hu Jintao emphasized the need to enhance the management of social issues.