Dissident fights PRC in Web school
The China Post news staffTo coincide with the National Day of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Oct. 1, pro-democracy movement activist Wang Dan (王丹) yesterday established in Taiwan, the online branch of the “New School for Democracy (華人民主書院),” an education center aimed at spreading the concept of democracy via online lectures.
October 2, 2011, 11:20 pm TWN
At the school's opening ceremony in Taipei yesterday, Wang, an exiled Chinese dissident who as a student famously led the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, stressed that Oct. 1 was not the National Day of China, but a day of “scarring” memories.
The communist regime created more damage than good in China, Wang charged, adding that he wished to sow the seeds of democracy through the Internet to Chinese youths, breaking through what is known as the “Great Firewall of China.”
The New School for Democracy is registered in Hong Kong, with Wang serving as chairman of the board.
Wang said the concept of spreading democracy through the Internet became very clear to him when he saw the effectiveness of writers covering the Bahrain uprisings through the highly publicized article, “Arabian Spring: The Hidden Tragedy of Bahrain,” by Amir Madani, on the Huffington Post.
The overwhelming effect of the Arab Spring fueled Wang's determination to promote China's democratization, starting with the Internet.
Revealing that he had already expected the mainland to crack down on the New School, yet with so many Chinese students choosing to study abroad each year, Wang figured there must be a way for students to learn and participate in the basic concepts of democracy.
Paraphrasing the words of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Wang sent to his Chinese students the quote: “Ask not what the democratization of China can do for you, but what you can do for the democratization of China.”
Professors from Hong Kong also took part in the ceremony yesterday, lauding Wang for his part in teaching the history of the PRC to the next generation.
It appears that the veteran pro-democracy activist's efforts have not been wasted. A mainland Chinese exchange student who attended the opening ceremony said he had little knowledge of what happened at Tiananmen Square prior to coming to Taiwan, adding that he greatly admired Wang's courage.
“I hope to join the site to glean more knowledge of democracy. I hope this virtual world can make a dent in China's political reality, so that everyone can have access to the most basic aspects of democracy.”