A Chinese student leader who helped organize a Tiananmen Square memorial conference Sunday night at the University of Utah said strings should be attached to trade with his homeland.
"The conditions should be a stop to human rights abuses in the mainland (China) and Tibet," said Ming He, vice chairman of the U.'s Chinese Student/Scholar Association.Chinese students on campus understand the political strategy enunciated by President Bush in his proposed reinstatement of "most favored nation" trade status for China, Ming said. "But most want it conditionally, not unconditionally."
About 100 people attended the memorial conference in the Orson Spencer Hall Auditorium, where speakers reflected on the exhilarating birth and tragic death of the short-lived Chinese democracy movement.
"We are still weeping in sorrow for what happened on June 4, 1989," Ming said. "Some of those from Tiananmen Square could have been here among us. They died for their beloved country, for their people, for us."
Liang Er, a student leader who survived the Tiananmen massacre, was the featured speaker at the memorial conference. Speaking through an interpreter, Liang described the events leading up to the "momentous events" and some of the attempts to reform China.
According to Liang, leaders of the democratic movement received dangerously conflicting advise from the government's own representatives. One group urged political before economic reform; one said economic reform would lead to political reform; and another opposed any reform. Local government officials saw things one way, the central government saw it another, Linag said.
Those different views and different directions caused confusion both before and after the showdown in Tiananmen Square, Liang said.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the days before June 4 in support of the fledgling democratic movement, defying orders from the central government to disperse. During the crackdown that followed, more than 300 people were killed and thousands were jailed.
Today, the Chinese people seem to stroll through the square as if nothing happened, Ming said. But he doesn't believe they have really forgotten.
"No one dares do anything or say anything about it, so it looks like they have forgotten," Ming said in an interview prior to the conference. "But they couldn't forget. No one can forget."
The world will remember it as well, Ming added, praising the American public for its support and encouragement of the democratic movement. Individual Americans went to great lengths to help the Chinese people before, during and after Tiananman Square, he said.
In his remarks to the conference participants, Ming said, "Let's fight together peacefully, confidently for democracy in China. We will not allow them to forget."