China Tiananmen dissident bids for Taiwan seat

Wu'er Kaixi, who was among leaders of 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, launches his campaign to win seat in Taiwan's parliament

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Wu'er Kaixi, a Chinese democracy activist who took part in Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989, officially launched an election campaign for a seat in Taiwan's parliament on Friday.

Wu'er fled from China to Taiwan following the crackdown when the Chinese army sent tanks to disperse protesters on June 4, 1989. Afterwards, he obtained Taiwanese citizenship. He is barred from returning to the mainland.

Wu'er will run as an independent candidate in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in January.

He called the Taiwanese to stand up against China as he launched his campaign, saying he wants to make Taiwan more democratic.

Referring to the pro-China nationalist Kuomintang Party (KMT), he said, "The most important issue facing the normalization of Taiwan's political parties is the Kuomintang party, which has a history of around 100 years and is a malformed monster, as it has such huge party assets and an election structure that does not rely on any public opinion."

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, waiting to be reunified with the mainland since the two states separated in 1949 after the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party and the nationalist KMT.

The pro-independence opposition, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to win by a wide margin, as the support for the incumbent Kuomintang Party, is fading due to a weak economy and concerns over warming ties with China.

Wu'er said, if elected, he will work towards amending Taiwan's constitution to clarify that mainland China and Taiwan are separate entities.

"Logically, this is the only way that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can work themselves out of the stand-off. I am offering a peaceful solution. It may not be the one solution that pleases Beijing the most, but we also know that what pleases Beijing most is simple: surrendering, submission," he told reporters.

He reportedly made "a gentleman's deal" with the DPP’s contender running for the same district in Taichung against KMT incumbent, who won the seat in 2012 with 51 percent of the votes.

Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the pro-independence camp is a presidential contender in January’s elections. She has pledged to maintain the status quo if she wins, but refused to accept the "One China principle" as the basis for relations.

TRTWorld and agencies