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  • Documents on Democracy


Imprisoned Chinese dissident Wang Dan, leader of the 1989 student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, was granted medical parole on April 19 on the condition that he leave China immediately. Excerpts from his first press conference in the United States, held on April 23 at the City University of New York, appear below:

I will have two goals during my time in America: the first will be to complete my education, and the second to do what I can to promote the democratization of China and to improve the state of human rights in China. . . .

I feel that my country now stands at a crossroads: Will it move toward democracy and prosperity, or go stumbling toward chaos and collapse? The duty to answer this question, I feel, rests with every Chinese person, and will be decided by the daily-life choices that every Chinese citizen makes. I just happen to be more zealous than some. Whatever methods I might use, and whatever achievements I might attain, my goal is not going to change. I plan to devote my entire life to the struggle for democracy in China. I hope to continue using three criteria for measuring the worth of my actions. Have I been responsible: 1) to the Chinese people; 2) to history; and 3) to my own conscience?

Today, as I speak at this spot in one of the freest cities on earth, I feel a special duty to speak for the courageous people who remain trapped inside some of the least free spots in the whole world—the cells of the Chinese prison system. It would be wrong if the world’s concern for me and for a few famous dissidents were to draw attention away from the legion of lesser-known Chinese political prisoners. These include Liu Nianchun, Li Hai, Gao Yu, Liu Xiaobo, and many, many others. The outcry of world opinion has always been immensely important inside China. Let us resolve to work together until every last one of China’s political prisoners has regained his or her freedom. [End Page 180]

I dream of a day in China when the ideas of freedom, democracy, human sympathy, tolerance, and equality have pervaded people’s hearts and minds and have radically transformed the patterns of social life. When that day comes, we can cease our tears, forget every painful memory, and watch China advance toward a magnificent and brilliant new day. If we all work hard for that day to come, it will, I believe, come.

The Americas

On April 18–19, leaders from the member states of the Organization of American States met in Santiago, Chile, for the Second Summit of the Americas. Excerpts from the Declaration of Santiago, signed by the heads of state in attendance, appear below:

The strength and meaning of representative democracy lie in the active participation of individuals at all levels of civic life. The democratic culture must encompass our entire population. We will strengthen education for democracy and promote the necessary actions for government institutions to become more participatory structures. We undertake to strengthen the capabilities of regional and local governments, when appropriate, and to foster more active participation in civil society.

Respect for and promotion of human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all individuals [are] a primary concern of our governments. In commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we agree on the need to promote the ratification and implementation of the international agreements aimed at preserving them and to continue strengthening the pertinent national and international institutions. We agree that a free press plays a fundamental role in this area and we reaffirm the importance of guaranteeing freedom of expression, information, and opinion. We commend the recent appointment of a Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, within the framework of the Organization of American States.


On April 3, Milo Đukanović, president of the Republic of Montenegro (which along with the Republic of Serbia constitutes the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), released a document entitled “Strategic Initiatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Fundamentals for a New Beginning.” Excerpts...

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