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Statements by CECC Members on the 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen

June 3, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (Brown, Smith, Feinstein, Levin, Wolf, Pittenger, Walz, Kaptur, and Honda) today recognize the 25th anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square and across China. Commission Members express solidarity with the victims of that tragic event and those Chinese citizens who today bravely stand up for human rights and accountable government.

"On the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen tragedy, we remember the Chinese citizens who died, lost loved ones, or who were imprisoned for peacefully advocating for democracy, human rights, and an end to corruption. The Chinese government is long overdue in granting its citizens the fundamental freedoms that they continue to call for today. Only by re-examining its history and allowing its citizens the freedom to openly discuss what happened, can China truly move forward." Senator Sherrod Brown, CECC Chair

"It is outrageous and sad that the Chinese government today defended its violent crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations by saying it took 'the correct path for the sake of the people.' Some may want to look past or trivialize the Tiananmen Massacre, but the remembrance of the dead and those jailed and tortured—and their remarkable courage, vision and tenacity—requires us to honor their noble aspirations for democracy and liberty.  The 25th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on student dissent therefore must re-inspire and re-energize our efforts to make human rights and freedom a top priority of U.S. foreign policy and engagement with China."Representative Chris Smith, CECC Cochair

"It has been 25 years since hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of demonstrators were killed in Tiananmen Square while peacefully advocating for a voice in how they are governed. I know of no other country that has made as much economic and industrial progress in the last 25 years than China. But what this anniversary reminds us is that progress still must be made in the areas of human rights, rule of law, and governance. To honor those who lost their lives in Tiananmen Square and those who carry that legacy today, we have a responsibility to call attention to China's record." Senator Dianne Feinstein

"It is a tragedy that 25 years after Tiananmen, Chinese citizens are still being denied the basic right of freedom of expression. I hope that it is not another 25 years before the Chinese government recognizes the value of fostering a free and open society, where dissent and open discourse are encouraged." Senator Carl Levin

"At the time, and most certainly in hindsight, it appears that this spontaneous citizen-led movement for greater openness, transparency and the rule of law could have marked the beginning of a peaceful political transition in China. But that brief moment of opportunity was lost. By nearly every measure, China is today as intolerant of dissent as it's ever been, if not more so. With the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen on the horizon there are steps that the Administration can take, symbolic and tangible alike, that would communicate to the Chinese people that their struggle has not been forgotten. I believe the Chinese government—the party and system responsible for Tiananmen and continued repression—will ultimately be left on the 'ash heap of history.'" Representative Frank R. Wolf

"Twenty-five years after Chinese tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square and brutally opened fire, we pay special tribute to the hundreds who were martyred that day for the cause of democracy and basic human rights in China. America will not forget your sacrifice. With humility, we recognize America has struggled with our own problems, including violence, drugs, and a Civil War over slavery. Our ability to emerge stronger from these struggles is through our democratic, open society, which honors the rule of law and free speech. May the cause of liberty grow and flourish in China."  Representative Robert Pittenger

"This year marks the 25th Anniversary of heroic events in Tiananmen Square. The courage of Chinese reformers during this monumental and heartbreaking day has been a beacon for the democratic spirit throughout the world. Living in Asia at the time, I was profoundly affected by these events and the Chinese people's struggle for reform. We, as a nation, must continue to support reform in China through our words and deeds. As we turn to the future, I'm hopeful that Chinese governmental leaders will come to understand that reform will make China a most prosperous nation and a true partner on the world stage. I will continue to engage China on these issues so that we can move forward together." Representative Tim Walz

"It has been 25 years since the June 4 Massacre in Beijing, China, when thousands of people were killed and more people were arrested and prosecuted for their words and actions in support of democracy and human rights in China. We remember their memory and honor their legacy today. Where China will be headed will be determined by what we want and how well we are prepared. From the perspective of Chinese democracy and human rights activists, we believe it is time for the international communities, especially the United States government, to take a firm stand with a clear expression in support of democracy and freedom in China, and especially support the democratic activists, both inside and outside of China. This will be beneficial both to the future of China and peace in the world." Representative Marcy Kaptur

"The 25th anniversary of the Chinese government's crackdown on the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square serves as an important reminder that every person, in every country, should have the right to legally and peacefully protest against the government. As democracy spreads around the world, we must ensure that all countries respect their people's rights to congregate, speak freely, participate in open elections, and petition their government."Representative Mike Honda

Official version available here.

International Official Statements on 25th Anniversary of June Fourth
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay(EN, CH)
  • Canada (EN, CH)
  • Germany (EN)
  • United States, The White House (EN, CH)
  • United States, Department of State, John Kerry (EN, CH)
  • US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (EN)
  • US House Democractic Leader, Nancy Pelosi (EN)

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