On the 32nd anniversary of the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, the U.S. administration and Democratic and Republican dignitaries issued statements to commemorate the historic event and express their commitment to continue pursuing the truth about the June 4 incident and holding the Chinese government accountable.
In a statement, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said, “June 4 is a day that has and must forever be etched in the hearts of all freedom-loving people. 32 years ago, students, workers and citizens peacefully took to the streets to demand their freedom from the oppressive Chinese regime. freedom: it was one of the most politically courageous actions of modern times.”
Pelosi and two other members of Congress had unfurled a black-and-white banner in Tiananmen Square in 1991 that read, “To the martyrs who died for the cause of democracy in China.” She retweeted the video from 28 years ago.
In her statement, she said that while much has changed in China, the government’s record of human rights violations has not, including the oppression of Uighurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers and the persecution of Chinese human rights activists. She said the U.S. Congress has made and will continue a bipartisan, bicameral commitment to hold the Chinese government accountable for decades.
“We must defend those who have fought for democracy and human rights in our time. If we don’t speak out for human rights in China because of economic interests, then we lose the moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere else in the world,” she said.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, chairman of the Congressional and Executive Commission on China (CECC), and the commission’s co-chairman, Democratic U.S. Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts, also issued a statement Thursday to mark the 32nd anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square incident.
In the statement, they said Beijing’s violent crackdown on the protests “shattered peaceful demands for rights and reforms and continues to complicate U.S.-China relations to this day.
The congressmen said that 32 years after the bloodshed, the Chinese government continues to brutally suppress the ability of the Chinese people to exercise their fundamental freedoms.
“The international community must stand united to end the arbitrary detention and abuse of prisoners of conscience, the genocide in Xinjiang, the destruction of Tibetan culture and religious freedom for hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens and the systematic destruction of the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong through international treaties,” the statement said.
While remembering the anniversary, the statement said they pledged to work for the future “so that the quest of the Tiananmen generation can finally be realized in China and around the world.”
Secretary of State John Blinken, a Democrat, said in the statement that the massacre in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago made the square “synonymous with the brutal actions taken by the government of the People’s Republic of China in 1989.
“The courage of those who stood shoulder-to-shoulder and heroically on June 4 reminds us that we must not stop seeking transparency about the events of that day, including a full accounting of all those killed, detained or missing,” he said.
While paying tribute to the sacrifices made by those who died, the chief U.S. diplomat also paid tribute to the activists who continue to work today in the face of the government’s ongoing crackdown.
Pompeo, a former U.S. secretary of state and Republican, tweeted on his personal Twitter account on June 4 to honor the heroes of Tiananmen Square. The tweet reads, “The tragedy in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago highlighted the stark contrast between the freedom-loving Chinese people and the tyranny of the Beijing regime.”
Pompeo also made specific reference to Hong Kong in a recorded video accompanying the tweet. He said the Chinese Communist regime has violated the promises it made by denying Hong Kong people all kinds of basic freedoms and making mourning for June 4 an illegal event.
Pompeo also wrote an article with his former China policy adviser Yu Maochun in The Hill to mark the 32nd anniversary of June 4 and reminded the Western world to be wary of the June 4 massacre and to remain highly vigilant against the Chinese Communist regime.
To forget Tiananmen is to betray freedom and surrender to tyranny,” the article said. After decades of misguided engagement with Beijing, the free world faces an existential threat from the same Chinese Communist regime of 1989. This regime sees Berlin not as a hope, but as a warning. Today’s Beijing regime is more ideologically active and more economically, militarily and technologically capable. But the United States has defeated such enemies before, and it can stand tall again.”