Wang Dan is an activist, historian and teacher born on February 26, 1969. Before gaining notoriety for his participation in the protests that occurred in the Beijing Tiananmen Square, organized classes on democracy at the Peking University School of History.
In 1989 he was only 20 years old and was one of the many leaders of the China Democratic Movement. That generation of students from the Wang Dan He was part of it, he worried about the country’s political situation. It requested the foundation of democratic institutions that would help in the fight against corruption.
In response to their positions, the Chinese government labeled the students as counterrevolutionaries and enemies of the government. He spread his qualifier through an editorial that was published in People’s Daily. The letter greatly annoyed the student body, who requested that the government collect their words. But they got no response.
In an interview years later, Wag Dan pointed out that the Chinese government believed that the protests would diminish their intensity, until they ceased. His theory could not be more wrong: the students went to the Tiananmen square and went on a hunger strike.
The events of Tiananmen
The hunger strike which started on May 13, received great popular support. To the point that the conflict took on the proportions of a movement made up of various sectors of civil society.
Despite the magnitude of the demonstration, Wang Dan He did not imagine that the concentration would be repressed with violence: “We never thought that the government would send troops against its people. We thought he just wanted to scare us. ” Specified in 2014.
So everything that happened took him by surprise. The June 3 night, when the soldiers repressed the concentration of civil society, Wang Dan I was not in the Tiananmen square. He was in the student residence where he spent the night. A classmate brought him up to speed on events. “My classmate called me from somewhere in the Tiananmen square. He told me that the repression had begun. People have died ”.
Although Wang tried to reach the square, the police fence set up to prevent access to Tiananmen prevented him. Shock and awe took hold of him to such an extent that he could not utter words for several days.
Chase and capture
After the events of Tiananmen, Wang Dan was included in the list of the 21 most wanted student leaders in China. He was able to stay in hiding for several weeks thanks to the support of his friends, but on July 2 he was arrested. He was deprived of liberty for two years awaiting trial. He was later sentenced to four years in jail.
After that time he was released on parole. The unfairness of his trial and imprisonment did not undermine the activist’s will. He continued to spread his political ideas through writings and interviews that were published outside China, such as the American magazine Beijín Spring.
He spoke to this publication of the need to build a free society that maintains a conscious distance from political factors. These types of statements led to his being arrested again in 1995. He was then accused of conspiring to depose the government. A year later, he received a sentence of more than a decade in prison for conspiring to overthrow the Communist Party of China.
He did not complete his entire sentence. In 1998 he was released and forced to leave Chinese territory. The media speculated that his release was a gesture of rapprochement by China with the United States. The then president of that nation, Bill Clinton, planned to visit Beijing in June of that year.
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Wang Dan arrived in New York on April 23 of that year. Upon arrival in the Big Apple, he declared that he had mixed feelings about his situation. “On the one hand, I am delighted to breathe freely, to be able to live and study in a free country. But it hurts me to have been forced to leave my country and live far from my family and friends, ”he said about it.
Activist Wang Dan was 29 years old when he came to the United States with the intention of pursuing his formal education. His goal was to become “an independent intellectual” and dedicate his existence to the establishment of a democratic government in China.
The exile of Wang Dan
The activist began his studies at Harvard University in 1998. Between 2001 and 2008 he managed to complete his master’s and doctorate in East Asian History. In 2009 he carried out research on the development of democracy in Taiwan.
He contributed his testimony in the documentary called “The Beijing CrackDown” and in the film “Moving the montain”. He has also published texts such as “Rebuild China with an Olympic amnesty” and “20 years after Tiananmen.” Currently, he works as a professor in the chair of political science.
Reflecting on the events of 1989, he says he does not regret having been part of that chain of events. “Democracy reached the soul of the normal population in China and enlightened future generations.”
Recently Wang Dan and other democracy activists in China called for an investigation into the events of the Tiananmen square, before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The dissident expressed in this regard that “the Tiananmen massacre has not ended yet. The Chinese government determined that the victims were criminals and a large number of exiles are still unable to return to their own country. ”
One of them is Wang Dan
who ever since he set foot outside his nation, expressed his frustration with marked nostalgia and vehemence.
“Leaving was a difficult decision. It was very hard knowing that I would not see my family. But if I refused to leave China, jail would wait for me. From there I could not have done anything.
The voice of Wang Dan has contributed to the fact that the controversial facts of the Tiananmen Square.