Organizers of the Free China Movement talked to GW students and members of GW’s Students for a Free Tibet Wednesday about the possibility of democratic reform in China.
Shenge Lian, the executive director of the Free China Movement and an exiled dissident from China, spoke about his experiences in China.
Ten years ago I stood up against the `Red Terror,’ Lian said. If we don’t show responsibility our children, our offspring, they will have to fight again.
As a student, Lian said he was a key organizer in the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and was jailed for two years as a dissident. He moved to the United States, where he began working with the Free China Movement Network, the world’s largest Chinese dissident organization.
Bernard Pollack, co-president of Students for a Free Tibet, said the event was organized to show students that they exist on campus but also that they are directly affecting the mood and policy in China.
Timothy Cooper, the international executive director for the group, underscored this point using student unity in Berlin and South Africa as examples.
I believe I am looking at a historical possibility that, if we can energize the student population into a grand strategic alliance with pro-democracy groups working within China, Mongolia and Taiwan, we can create an alliance unprecedented in world history, Cooper said.
Both Cooper and Lian urged the students to get involved to positively impact the issues of democracy in China.
Twenty percent of the world’s population is disenfranchised, without the protective rights that you and I cherish, Cooper said.
He concluded his talk by pressing the students to make a difference.
Move history, change the world, do what you can do better than anyone – demonstrate your commitment to freedom and justice around the world, he said. I implore you to go global, to rise and set 1.2 billion people free.