China rebuffs Taiwan president’s offer on democracy

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Beijing | Published: June 6, 2016 5:13:05 PM

China on Monday rejected an offer by Taiwan's new president to share the island's experience of democracy, saying it was confident of the path it had chosen.

China on Monday rejected an offer by Taiwan’s new president to share the island’s experience of democracy, saying it was confident of the path it had chosen.

President Tsai Ing-wen made the offer via Facebook on Saturday in a post about the June 4 anniversary of China’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Self-ruled Taiwan is the only part of the Chinese-speaking world which holds free elections, and Tsai has already upset China, where officials have accused her of promoting a pro-independence agenda, something anathema to Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked whether China would be willing to learn from Taiwan’s democratisation experience, said the past 30 years had shown China had made the right choice.

“In the last 30 years the success that China’s economy and society have achieved has received worldwide attention and the democratic system has continued to be perfected. The advantages of China’s system continue to show themselves,” Hong told a daily news briefing.

“The facts prove that the path China is now going down accords with the reality of China’s development and the wishes of the Chinese people and is the correct one,” he added, without elaborating.

China sent in tanks to break up demonstrations on June 4, 1989. Beijing has never released a death toll but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.

The subject remains all but taboo in China, where President Xi Jinping is overseeing a broad crackdown on rights groups and activists.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring what it views as the wayward province of Taiwan under its control and is deeply suspicious of Tsai, who assumed office last month, due to her ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s pro-Taiwan independence stance.

Tsai says she is committed to maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait.

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