Taiwan's new President Tsai Ing-Wen has told China there is nothing to fear about democracy, a topic that is still not broadly welcomed by China. Marking the 27th anniversary of Beijing's Tiananmen Square massacre of student-led demonstrators, Tsai took to Facebook and said that Taiwan could serve as an example to China.
She wrote that she noticed support from some Chinese people, who along with Hong Kong and Macau people, mixed with crowds in Taiwan during the country's election campaigns, a move that Tsai sees as people favouring democracy, according to Reuters.
"These many friends, after experiencing things for themselves can see that in fact there's nothing scary about democracy. Democracy is a good and fine thing," she said in her Facebook post.
She added that nobody can deny China's economic growth has seen remarkable success under the rulings of Communist Party, although the mainland Chinese internal political and social transformation is also under pressure. She felt that China could win more respect globally if it gave its people more rights and democracy.
Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party is known for its pro-independence approach and has been associated with strong advocacy on human rights and independent Taiwan, off from China's clutches.
Among the nations under Chinese direct or indirect control, Taiwan is the only part of the Chinese-speaking world which holds free elections. Besides, Beijing has been wary of Tsai's political advancements and has accused her for trying to seek complete independence for the island from China. She has also risked triggering China's anger with her open and blunt remarks on Tiananmen.
The 4 June massacre received wide support from the citizens in the student-led demonstrations, exposing deep splits within China's political leadership. To uphold political stability and control, China sent in tanks to break up the protests, which is estimated to have left anywhere between several hundreds and thousands dead. However, China has never released the exact death toll, and has prohibited discussing the event.
Tsai said she understood the pain caused by Tiananmen because Taiwan had faced similar struggles in trying to achieve democracy. "I'm not here to give advice about the political system on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, but am willing to sincerely share Taiwan's democratic experience," she said.
Meanwhile, Reuters noted that most of the state media in China made no mention of 4 June event, but for the English version of Beijing-based tabloid the Global Times, which wrote in a commentary that Chinese people had forgotten about the event: "The annual hubhub around the June 4 incident is nothing but bubbles that are doomed to burst."
Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule, is the only Chinese autonomous territory to tolerate the commemorations of Tiananmen.