By Jay Rogers
Published September 1, 1989
CHICAGO, Illinois (FR) – The First Congress of the Chinese Students in the U.S.A. convened in Chicago, Illinois, on July 28, paying a tribute to those who gave their lives to a democratic China in Beijing and declaring the formation of the All-America Chinese Students Union.
Over 400 delegates representing 200 campuses in America united with the stated purpose “to push forward the Chinese democratic movement.” A manifesto declaring the Chinese student’s commitment to promote democracy in their motherland was written and stated in part:
“We hereby proclaim our persistent pursuit for democracy, which includes our claims for such human rights as life, freedom, property and pursuit of happiness … Our cause, for which numerous Chinese with lofty ideals have devoted their lives since the May 4th movement, is based upon the intuitive and common knowledge in the whole civilized world. It represents a historical trend of human society progressing from barbarism to civilization, from backwardness to advancement. This trend cannot be defied by any force.”
After the opening ceremony, all the key leaders of the democracy movement who had recently escaped from China spoke at a press conference. These leaders included Mr. Yan Jiaqui, a former consultant of Communist Party chief, Zhao Ziyang; Mr. Wuerkaixi, one of the student leaders in Beijing and the President of the Beijing Independent Student Union; and Mr. Wan Runnan, the General Manager of the Stone Corporation and an influential Chinese businessman.
Mr. Yan claimed that China needs free elections so that Chinese people have to choose their representatives and government officials.
Mr. Wuerkaixi replied to the question of whether they want to overthrow the communist government: “I have never said that we want to overthrow the communist government. We simply want to see opposition political forces emerging to compete with the communist party and the Chinese people have the right to choose among them.”
Mr. Wan told reporters that they are in the process of forming an organization called the Front for Democratic China. The purpose of this organization is to provide a means of uniting various Chinese democratic organizations.
Mark Kyle, Missions Director for Maranatha Campus Ministries, appeared during the closing ceremony presenting the Congress with a plaque pledging the solidarity of Maranatha Ministries with the Chinese student democracy movement.
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