The Fight Against the Plague of Totalitarianism & Standing in Solidarity with the Fight of the People of Hong Kong (31st Anniversary of the June 4th Forum)
Shih Yi-hsiang (Secretary General of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights)
The past year has been a particularly difficult year for all, whether it was to the repressed individuals in China, human rights lawyers, the Tibetans, the Xinjiang Uyghurs, the people of Hong Kong, or to other countries around the world that has been affected by the arrest of human rights from China. In regards to any of the above, the year has indeed been extremely difficult.
Since the Tiananmen Square incident 31 years ago, the event perhaps still reminded the world how the Chinese government’s oppression of its own people was a violation of human rights within its own borders. However, the Chinese border only portrayed the incident as a domestic incident that shielded such oppressive violations from the international community as it stood in solidarity. For Taiwan and the rest of the world, what happened in Tiananmen Square on June 4th would never diffuse across borders to affects a country’s government or its people.
Yet, fast-forwarding 31 years to the present, especially with everyone’s experiences of the impacts of COVID-19, the protests of China’s extradition bill, and the recent national security measures in Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s status as Asia’s financial center is now revealing its global influences. As we all watch the events unfold on the news in Hong Kong, we also observe the ripple effects of the change in Hong Kong’s status around the globe.
Today, 31 years later, we have come to realize that as China continues its totalitarian agenda with its continuous violations of human rights, the international community has only accepted these violations by turning a blind eye. Out of each country’s self-interests, the international community chose to ignore such violations and extended their relations economically, cooperatively, and dependently. By condoning these behaviors, we — as a global entity — will suffer the consequences. While hiding the situation and the control of the epidemic, China has stripped the people of their freedom of speech and expression. The lack of accountability and transparency from China’s governance of public health has now been observed of its impact across the global population.
Thus, whether the situation involves China’s treatment of human rights or the preservation of the civil rights and liberties to the people of Hong Kong, this is no longer a domestic issue. No one is exempted from the spread of China’s totalitarianism. Assisting Hong Kong and protecting Taiwan’s democracy should be on the agenda of all of the leaders of the world. Every world leaders must consider the global consequences and risks as China’s totalitarianism increases.
By acknowledging this situation, let us look at the 31st Anniversary of the incident that took place on June 4th. Although the Hong Kong government refused to allow a gathering of the commemoration of the Tiananmen Square Incident at Victoria Park for the first time, we are now living in a digital age. The number and scope of the audience that participated in the commemoration has perhaps exceeded previous attendances in Victoria Park. The refusal to forget June 4th is a responsibility for the world. Assisting Hong Kong is a responsibility for the world. The fight against China’s tyranny is a responsibility for all.