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President Ma Expresses Thoughts on 19th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Crackdown

Jnue 4, 2008
President Ma on June 4 expressed his thoughts on the 19th anniversary of the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
President Ma said that since the crackdown on June 4, 1989, he has each year either participated in activities commemorating the events or has issued an article describing his feelings. He said his concern for the June 4, 1989 events is primarily related to whether compatriots in mainland China will be able to enjoy a free and democratic lifestyle.
The president said the main difference in marking June 4 this year compared with previous years is that the enormous earthquake that struck Sichuan happened exactly three weeks ago. The quake caused damage in an area of land exceeding 100,000 square kilometers. Over 400,000 people were either killed or injured as a result of the quake, and at least five million people were left homeless. The president noted the speed in which mainland authorities engaged in disaster rescue operations and expressed their concern for the plight of those whose lives have been impacted by the tremor. He added that the mainland has allowed a high degree of freedom in reporting on the disaster as well as protests carried out by villagers. Meanwhile, people throughout mainland China have flocked to make donations. The mainland has even welcomed foreign rescue teams and has affirmed the efforts of Taiwan in providing disaster rescue and relief. All of this marks a sharp contrast to how authorities handled the Tangshan earthquake that struck mainland China in 1976. This time, the president said, the international press has repeatedly praised China for its handling of the disaster, which demonstrates that results are being seen from the 30 years of reforms and liberalization carried out in China.
President Ma noted that in his inauguration address he said: "We care about the welfare of the 1.3 billion people of mainland China, and hope that mainland China will continue to move toward freedom, democracy and prosperity for all the people. This would pave the way for the long-term peaceful development of cross-strait relations."
The president said that today this is the true significance of our concern with regards to the June 4 Incident.
【Source: Office of the President】