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Chinese Dissident Tells VOA No Reform Possible Under Current Chinese Government

Washington, D.C., June 3, 2004 - Wang Dan, a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Democracy movement, told a Voice of America seminar Wednesday that there is no hope that political reform in China can happen while the Chinese Communist Party is in power. "All reforms must be initiated inside China by factors outside the Communist Party," Wang noted, adding that there are more social and political problems in China today than there were 15 years ago.

Wang, now a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, made the comments during a panel discussion at VOA on "The Future of Reform in China: 15 Years After Tiananmen." He and other Chinese democracy leaders and American experts discussed the anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown when the People's Liberation Army attacked pro-democracy demonstrators the night of June 3, 1989. The panelists included Tiananmen activist Wang Chaohua, U.S. Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), Princeton University Professor Perry Link, and China specialist Robert Suettinger.

Professor Link presented a statement by Zhang Liang, a pen name for the author of the Tiananmen Papers, in which Zhang said he did not expect there would be any re-evaluation of the Tiananmen incident by the current generation of Chinese leaders. "China, comprising one-fifth of the world population, is still ruled by a high class, vested common interest group of less than 100 people, the great majority of them have shared the same fate from early on, and without impetus or threat from outside, they will play it safe, bent solely on profit and jockeying for positions," wrote Zhang.

U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, who recently returned from attending the inauguration of Taiwan President Chen Shuibian, warned that while China has made great process in economic reforms, one of the most "stunning circumstances in the world today" is the fact that tension between Beijing and Taipei remains the third most likely cause of war in the world, following the Middle East and North Korea.

Zhang Liang's commentary and reports on the conference are available in Chinese and English at VOA's web site:

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA broadcasts almost 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 87 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

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