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On Occasion of Tiananmen Square Anniversary
Taiwan President Calls for Release of Chinese Dissidents
The first step toward political reform is treating dissidents with leniency, Ma says in a statement.

President Ma Ying-jeou urged mainland China to set free two prominent dissidents and show its commitment to political reform on Saturday, the 22nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

"The first step toward political reform is treating dissidents with leniency, and appreciating their value to society," Ma said in a statement.

An early release of Liu Xiaobo and contemporary artist Ai Weiwei would greatly enhance the mainland's international image and reduce the psychological distance between people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, according to Ma.

He reminded China that "economic reform must be accompanied by political reform" and called on Beijing to seek to improve its "spotty records" in the areas of democracy and human rights that stand in stark contrast to its brilliant economic performance.

As shown in Taiwan's experience in transitioning from an authoritarian state to a democracy, he said, reform brings stability and progress and builds trust in the government. "Reform, while not painless, is certainly no disaster," Ma said. In a separate statement,

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan said Beijing's effort to push for political reform would be very helpful to cross-strait stability and peace, and in promoting such reform, an attempt to redress the wrongs of the Tiananmen Square incident would have symbolic significance. Mainland authorities, therefore, need to face up to the implications of the incident to advance the development of democracy, freedom and human rights in China, Lai said.

With problems such as uneven wealth distribution, rampant corruption, and social confrontation posing major challenges to the mainland, she urged Beijing to handle the issues with democratic and peaceful means and deal with different opinions in society with a more liberal and rational mind-set.(Central News Agency)






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