Friday, November 12, 2010

Wang Dan Encounters Bizarre Attack at Taiwan

While teaching at a university in Taiwan, 1989 student leader Wang Dan encountered a bizarre attack yesterday. Taipei Times described the scene that was confirmed by Wang Dan's own posting on his Facebook page:
Wang Dan (王丹), a prominent Tiananmen Square student leader who is currently a visiting associate professor in Taiwan, was nearly stabbed by a woman with a fruit knife while giving a lecture.

At about noon on Thursday, a woman believed to be in her early 30s barged into his classroom at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu. She took out a knife and reportedly attempted to stab Wang, who was delivering a lecture on the history of the People’s Republic of China to a small group of students.

Struggling with the woman, Wang succeeded in seizing the knife before she could injure him.

“Her storming into the room left me no time to feel scared. I could only catch her and snatch the knife from her hand. It was an instinctive reaction,” Wang said.

Recalling the incident yesterday, Wang, who has experienced a number of politically volatile situations, said this was the first time he faced what looked like an attempt on his life.

Wang said he did not know the woman, he said has harassed him for three years.

About two years ago, Wang contacted police after the woman sent him threatening letters, but the authorities did not indict her, as she appeared to be a psychiatric patient, he said.

Wang said he did not seek police assistance even after the woman started showing up in his classroom or when he was attending public events accusing him of sending people to beat her.

Despite feeling deeply disturbed by the long series of incidents, Wang said he never expected the situation would degenerate into an attack on his person.

Although he is unable to file a lawsuit against the woman because she is mentally ill, Wang said he was considering canceling some public appearances.

The woman is now receiving psychiatric treatment, Wang said, adding that he might request police protection as she could attack him again if released.

Wang’s position at Tsing Hua is his second in Taiwan after he obtained his doctorate in history from Harvard University in 2008.

From September last year to February, Wang was a visiting associate professor teaching “the comparative study of state violence in the 1950s between Taiwan and China” at National Chengchi University in Taipei.

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