Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wang Dan: Barred From Hong Kong

"...the Tiananmen Massacre is still going on, only in different ways..." - Wang Dan
It should never have been in doubt; mainland dissident Wang Dan would have no problem arriving in Hong Kong from Taiwan, where he currently lives, to attend the funeral this Saturday of local patriot Szeto Wah. Hong Kong enjoys "one country two systems"; it has the legitimate right, according to its mini-constitution, to "a high degree of autonomy" from the mainland. But no. This autonomy doesn't extend to allowing a grieving countryman to visit and pay tribute to one of Hong Kong's most beloved sons. The long arm of Beijing pulls the strings and our much vaunted "one country two systems" has been exposed as nothing but a sham.

As Wang said, "Refusing me entry again tells the world that the 'one country, two systems' formula is a total lie, as the Hong Kong government has totally given up its right to autonomy, and Beijing's will prevails in all of Hong Kong."

"Execution" - Yue Minjun
Wang has paid his dues. He did time in prison on two separate occasions for his leading role in the 1989 Tiananmen protests. As a 20-year-old student from Peking University, Wang topped the list of most wanted "counterrevolutionaries" Beijing published after the June 4th massacre. He was finally released to the U.S. in 1998 for "medical reasons" and enrolled at Harvard where he obtained a master's in East Asian history in 2001 and a PhD in 2008. His PhD thesis was a comparative study of Chinese mainland and Taiwanese politics in the 1950s. Wang continues to advocate for democratic reforms and petition Beijing to allow him to return to visit his aging parents. In 2009, he spelled out four steps Beijing should implement to "begin to turn the tragic page of Tiananmen":
"First, it should pay reparations to the Tiananmen mothers who lost their children forever.

Second, the government should allow me and other forcibly exiled Chinese citizens to return to our homeland.

Third, the government should release the remaining political prisoners who were jailed for peacefully protesting in Tiananmen Square and more recent prisoners persecuted for their efforts to encourage human rights reform.

Finally, China's leaders should address the long-term objectives shared by the Tiananmen students and the authors of Charter 08 -- establishing the rule of law, guaranteeing basic human rights and ending corruption."

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