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May 29, 2017

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Tiananmen Sq. images to be shown at CKS

TAIPEI -- A large image showing Beijing's Tiananmen Square and rows of tanks will be erected in Taipei Wednesday to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, organizers of a commemorative event in Taipei said Tuesday.

People who attend the event are encouraged to take pictures in front of the 12-meter-long, 7-meter-tall image, as a gesture of support for "Tank Man," said Yang Hsien-hung, chairman of the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, one of the organizers.

"Tank Man" refers to an unknown man who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks June 5, 1989, a day after the massacre. The identity of the man and his whereabouts remain unknown, but the image of him standing in defiance of the tanks has become an iconic symbol of the incident.

"Only if China becomes more democratic can it understand and respect Taiwan. Only in this way can Taiwan continue to maintain its status quo or safety," opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin said at a press conference at the Legislature to announce the event.

Tien called on the public to attend the event in Freedom Square in front of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and to show the Chinese government that "we know what you are doing."

Activists who participated in the 1989 student-led protests, including Wuer Kaixi and Yang Jianli, will speak at the event, Yang said.

The event will also call on the Chinese government to admit its wrongdoing in the Tiananmen Square protests and stop suppressing political dissidents, and urge the Taiwanese government to make human rights protection a "precondition" for Taiwan-China exchanges, he added.

Yang also urged President Ma Ying-jeou to participate in the commemorative event.

The Tiananmen Massacre remains a taboo subject in China.

After weeks of pro-democracy protests in 1989, Chinese troops and tanks fired on civilians in Beijing's Tiananmen Square June 4. Estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to thousands.

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