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Tiananmen Square crackdown

Dissident to research HK democracy during visit to city

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

Hong Kong's democratic development will feature in mainland dissident Chen Ziming's new book on the history of China's democratic movements in the past century.


The leading pro-democracy activist, branded a 'black hand' organiser of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest, has been allowed to visit Hong Kong for two weeks.


Mr Chen, who is making his first visit, says vindication of the movement in 1989 remains one of the major aims for many mainlanders.


During his stay, Mr Chen will gather information for his book and give a lecture at Chinese University before leaving on Monday.


A chapter will focus on Hong Kong's democratic movement and the development of party politics in the city, while another chapter will feature Taiwan's path to democracy.


Mr Chen, 55, was arrested in October 1989, four months after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, and jailed for 13 years for 'counter-revolutionary activities'. He was given medical parole in 1994 but sent back to jail a year later after joining calls for Beijing to release political prisoners.


He was paroled again in 1996 but placed under house arrest until he completed his sentence in 2002. He was then deprived of his political rights for four years.


Today, four police officers live in a rented apartment facing his home, he said.


Mr Chen has met Civic Party chairman Kuan Hsin-chi, who is also director of the Universities Service Centre for China Studies under Chinese University.


Professor Kuan briefed Mr Chen, who was invited by the centre to visit for academic exchanges, about the latest developments in the party.


'The stay is too short and I barely have time to meet other politicians,' said Mr Chen, who is scheduled to give a lecture on the Anti-rightist Movement on Monday.


He arrived with his wife under the Individual Traveller Scheme, which only allows them to stay for two seven-day periods. The couple have visited Victoria Harbour but had no time for further sightseeing.


Mr Chen said Hong Kong's political reform was an important part of the history of democratic development in China. 'I hope Hong Kong can serve as a pioneer of China's democratic development,' he said. 'The mainland can draw from its valuable experience in political reforms and the building of a democratic system.'


He said China's integration with the rest of the world was creating greater needs and momentum for its democratisation.


'Democracy has gradually become a need not only for the Chinese people but also the state leaders,' he said. 'In an attempt to be part of the international community, China has to make itself a normal country with a democratic system.'


Apart from writing the book, Mr Chen devotes much of his time to research work at the Beijing Social and Economic Research Institute.


The private think-tank's website is blocked from most mainland internet users.