CARTOON: China Rebuffs Taiwan President's Comments on Tiananmen Massacre

CARTOON: China Rebuffs Taiwan President's Comments on Tiananmen Massacre
Photo Credit: Stellina Chen

What you need to know

China hit back at President Tsai-Ing-wen’s tweets that called for China to adopt democratic reforms.

Words by Shuhei Omi
Cartoon by
Stellina Chen

On June 3, the eve of the Tiananmen Massacre’s 28th anniversary, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) commented on the historical event in a series of three tweets. She started by stating how the Tiananmen protesters “inspired a generation,” and went on to say in a second tweet “the longest distance across the strait is democracy and freedom.” In her last post, Tsai said, “For democracy: some are early, others are late [sic]” and implied there was more Taiwan could share in its experience in becoming a democracy.

Tsai the following day expanded on her comments in a Facebook post, claiming China can gain international respect only after reforms. She also compared Beijing’s official description of the Tiananmen Incident as a “revolt” to the official Taiwan narrative during the Martial Law era on the 228 and Kaohsiung Incidents, which were both pro-democracy demonstrations.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) immediately attacked Tsai through a statement to Reuters, claiming the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) “values and ideas” had sowed chaos in Taiwan, and suggested Tsai should instead reflect on the “widespread discontent” toward her administration. TAO Spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) added Taiwan “should not divert attention and shirk responsibility while further inflaming cross-Strait antagonism.”

Taiwan transitioned to democracy in the late 1980s, following decades of Kuomintang authoritarian rule.

Photo Credit: Stellina Chen

Editor: Edward White