Localist Reflections on Tiananmen Square Massacre – Chi-na must First Disintegrate before it can have Democracy

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(By Man-to Leung. Translated by Chapman Chen)

This year, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HK Alliance) and New School for Democracy, as usual, respectively held in Hong Kong and Taiwan activities in support of “Construct a Democratic China” and “Rehabilitate June Fourth” (in commemoration of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June Fourth 1989). But in recent years, both organizations have been subjected to strong queries.

First of all, To Kwan-hang, Headmaster of New School for Democracy, recently got away with verbally insulting Yvonne Leung with sexually prejudicial expressions, despite being strongly criticized for it. Meanwhile, a public opinion survey of HKU shows that the score given by Hongkongers for HK Alliance is 44.6, a new low since 1992. The percentage of interviewees who think that HK Alliance should be disbanded abruptly rises by 8 percent to 26 percent.

Patriotism of HK Alliance Cast Aside

Some critiques think that the problem with HK Alliance is the oldening of its image. Actually, what is more important is that its way of thinking is outmoded and that it always encourages people to love China. People really cannot understand why, after so many years, it is still the same group of people seizing moral aura and donations. What on earth have they done except organizing the June Fourth carnival?

Other queries note that HK Alliance has given rise to the Democratic Party, which was once the biggest opposition party in Hong Kong, as well as to many other pan-democracy parties subsequently split off from the Democratic Party. However, for the last twenty to thirty years, the same group of people, in their “struggle for democracy”, have remained a yes-man. The Democratic Party has even betrayed Hong Kong people and again and again come to terms with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) such that they are no longer trustworthy.

However, in the final analysis, the most important cause of the Alliance’s decline is the continual intensification of Hongkongers’ self-identification. More and more people identify themselves as Hongkonger and endorse priority of Hong Kong democracy such that the patriotic demand of HK Alliance is gradually cast aside.

In addition, it is noteworthy that the aforementioned public opinion survey shows that 52 percent of the interviewees support “rehabilitation of June Fourth”, representing a new low in the last five years; whereas 24 percent think that Hongkongers do not have the responsibility to propel China democracy, representing the highest one amidst the five most recent surveys of the same kind.

In face of the ever-growing anti-China atmosphere, Lee Cheuk-yan, legislator cum former Chairperson of HK Alliance, recently asserted that Hongkongers should not embody Greater Hongkongism, that they had the responsibility to support democratic movements on the Chinese Mainland. The problem is that ever since the crackdown of the 1989 democratic movement in China, the CCP has vigorously made China economy take off, and most of the people of China now only care about money rather than democracy. The middle class there try their best to emigrate and corruption is more structuralized than ever in China. All political and economic resources are completely in the hands of the party’s elite and “a democratic China” seems far away and not within the foreseeable future.

Now that Hongkongers cannot even look after their own democracy, they should concentrate on the struggle for Hong Kong democracy instead of the moral consolation offered by HK Alliance.

In reaction to many Hong Kong student bodies recently boycotting HK Alliance’s annual June Fourth candlelight vigilance in commemoration of Tiananmen Square Massacre, Wang Dang published an article urging people not to cut off June Fourth Tiananmen Square Massacre even if they want to cut off China. It is bewildering that this kind of thought should come from one of the student movement leaders in the 1980s, who had claimed to be “anti-corruption and pro-democracy”. Because there has been no severance. The crux of criticism arises out of the fact that Tiananmen Square Massacre is not severable from China and not even from the CCP. “Rehabilitate June Fourth” has all along not only identified the protestors with China but also endorsed the Communist regime in China in a certain sense.

What is worth remembering is that what was expected by the one million Hongkongers, who shouted “Down with Li Peng” in the mass rally ensuing the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, was that Zhao Ziyang would be able to gain the support of Deng Xiaoping, to win in the political conflict then, and to carry out political reforms.

This kind of servile mentality expecting a benevolent tyrant is still the actual bedrock of “Rehabilitate June Fourth”. However, it was precisely Deng Xiaoping who, considering it a good bargain to kill two hundred thousand people in exchange for twenty years’ stability for the totalitarian regime, ordered the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Democratic Imagination with Disintegration of CCP and China

”Rehabilitation of June Fourth”, of course, does not imply democratization of China. Judging from history, these two “ideals” cannot possibly be realized under the totalitarian rule of the CCP. HK Alliance as well as certain pig-headed people in support of Hong Kong’s “democratic return to China” still keep reiterating that as long as China has no democracy, Hong Kong will have no democracy; only when China has democracy will Hong Kong be able to have democracy.

Some localist groups correctly retort: If even Hong Kong does not have democracy, it is even more unlikely that China will have democracy. Moreover, an even more progressive localist standpoint is that it is simply unnecessary to heed whether China has democracy or not, that Hongkongers must struggle for their own democracy in Hong Kong at any cost, and vote down the constitutional reform proposal put forth by the Hong Kong Communist Government. The kind of thinking above-mentioned was more or less reflected in the localists’ actions of “Re-orientation Rooted in the Local Land” and “Save our Hong Kong Ourselves” in the eighteen districts of Hong Kong during the anniversary of Tiananmen Square this year.

What is worth meditation is that while it is presumed that military revolution will not occur in China, we cannot expect intra-systemic reform of Communist China alone to be able to bring about democratization, unless the reform in question can promote disintegration of China. In other words, if only East Turkestan, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Inner Mongolia, and the former Manchuria could seize back the autonomous power of self-determination, and the CCP would collapse in disguised form. Only in this way can the various regions on the land of “Chi-na” as described by Dr. Sun Yat-sen (such as Canton, Sichuan, Shanghai, Fokien) realize democratic independence.

If the above actually happens, then the China, which was constructed only one century ago, will no longer exist, and the fabricated pan-Chinese nation (Chung Wah nation) will be replaced by co-existing multiple nations. Eventually, the various nations on the soil of Chi-na will jointly form an East-Asia Alliance, together with East Turkestan, Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia (Outer plus Inner), nations on the original land of Manchuria, and even Japan and Korea, promoting international peace in East-Asia. This is the direction in which Hong Kong and Taiwan localists may from now on reflect upon the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

(The author is Professor of Politics, Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, cum Initiator, Democratic League of Hong Kong and Macao in Taiwan).


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