Saturday, June 5, 2010

Human Rights in China

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident (6/4), in which Chinese students and intellectuals protested against the Chinese government. Originally to mourn for Hu Yaobang, the protests proceeded onto calls for reform using slogans such as "No corruption," "Rule by law," "Human rights," and eventually "Democracy." In the end, there was a swift and violent crackdown on those in the square, and unofficial numbers (more accurate than the "official" numbers) go into the thousands for the number of deaths.

Fast forward 20+ years, and it seems as if the CCP has not changed at all. Suppression of basic human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble and protest are all still illegal today in China. Moving beyond the normal suppression of human rights, China has continued to censor speech on the web.

It's interesting to note that many "experts" and "scholars" continue to see Taiwan as a mediator for western democracy and human rights to enter into China. The idea that Taiwan can influence China to become "westernized" is a dangerous road for Taiwan to consider. While Taiwan can definitely try, the results thus far have usually been the other way around - China affecting Taiwan.

Even more of concern is the human rights in Taiwan today, and the apparent regression of human rights in Taiwan. How can one call on another to do this and that, when they themselves do not even adhere to the same principles. What do I mean?

For one, the continual rejection of referendums being proposed by groups in Taiwan to ask the Taiwanese public if they really want an ECFA or not is a clear sign of the current KMT government restricting the voice of the people.

Secondly, the suppression of press via the confiscation of radio equipment from Ocean View, a pro-democracy radio station located in Taichung, is another clear sign that the current KMT government is violating the freedom of press.

Thirdly, the bullying tactics by police in Taiwan against e-users who are vocal about Taiwan's democracy should be raising a flag to any human rights watchers. People's rights to privacy and their right to express their opinion are being violated by the government and the seemingly police-state government.

The list goes on and on. While most of us hope for a more open and democratic China in the future, perhaps we should work on keeping Taiwan a free and democratic country first. After all, you will hear Chinese say often, "western-style democracy is not for us." Then the appropriate response to anyone who tells you that is, "Taiwan is a western-style democracy, and it's been working for them for almost 20 years now." And the kicker? It shows you right there that Taiwanese are not the same as the Chinese, when they say "us."

I will have an update on the TAIEX and markets in general on Sunday.

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