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  • Documents on Democracy


On February 7, Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang died of coronavirus, spurring widespread outrage. Li and seven other doctors had been detained and admonished by Wuhan authorities in early January for attempting to share information about the virus. An anonymous group of Tsinghua University alumni published an open letter following Li's death. The full text follows.

Doctor Li Wenliang has died. The whole nation is in mourning.

He was a dedicated, compassionate ophthalmologist who was questioned by his work unit, reprimanded by the police, and publicly named a rumormonger by CCTV simply because he told a few truths in a We-Chat group shared among his graduating class.

In the end, he proved with his death that he was not making rumors. He didn't want to be a hero, yet he was forced to become one! Without truth, lies run rampant. Killing truth is akin to killing human beings. Eight people were silenced, resulting in all of China being shut. What a terrible price to pay!

To this end, we announce the following:

First, we resolutely oppose putting political security above all else. This is the selfish goal of a small group of people! The lives of hundreds of millions must come first!

Second, we resolutely oppose blocking of accounts and chat groups. We support the effective protection of the constitutional rights of all citizens—especially freedom of speech, whether that speech is right or wrong.

Third, we resolutely oppose the thinking and model behind stability-maintenance, and oppose hostility toward the people. Only by guaranteeing people's livelihood and improving democracy can there be social stability and peaceful living.

Fourth, we resolutely oppose turning this disaster into a grand celebration [End Page 189] of meritorious deeds. We must hold the officials and the system accountable, so as to avoid repeating this disaster.

Fifth, we resolutely oppose going backwards. We must adhere to Deng Xiaoping's abolition of a system that allows leaders to stay in power indefinitely, and resume political reform in order to save the Chinese nation from its crisis!

Fellow citizens! For the life and death of hundreds of millions of Chinese, and for the survival of our nation and our country, let us utter our final roar!


On January 11, Tsai Ing-Wen was reelected president of Taiwan. Her victory speech is excerpted below:

This election has shown that the Taiwanese people hope the international community will witness our commitment to democratic values and will respect our national identity. … The results of this election carry an added significance, because they have shown that when our sovereignty and democracy are threatened, the Taiwanese people will shout our determination even more loudly back.

Over the past three years, our administration has been firm on our bottom line on Taiwanìs sovereignty, but we have also been willing to maintain healthy exchanges with China. In the face of Chinaìs diplomatic pressure and military threats, we have maintained a nonprovocative, non-adventurist attitude that has prevented serious conflict from breaking out in the Taiwan Strait.

However, through their increasing pressure and proposal of a "one country, two systemsî model for Taiwan, China has hoped to force us to accept conditions that are entirely unacceptable. In the face of Chinaìs intention to unilaterally change the cross-strait status quo, Taiwan has had no choice but to continue strengthening our democratic defense mechanisms, and establish national defense capabilities that can ensure security in the Taiwan Strait.

I want to emphasize that my commitment to peaceful, stable cross-strait relations remains unchanged. But both sides of the Taiwan Strait have a responsibility to ensure peaceful and stable cross-strait relations.

Today, I want to once again call upon the Beijing authorities to remind them that peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue are the key to positive cross-strait interactions and long-term stable development. These four words are also the only path to bringing together and benefitting both our two peoples.

"Peace" means that China must abandon threats of force against Taiwan. "Parity" means that neither side of the Taiwan Strait should deny the fact of the other's existence. "Democracy" means that the future [End...


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pp. 189-191
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