This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., who lead the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the following statement on the 31st anniversary of the Chinese government and Communist Party’s violent crackdown against student-led protestors in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989:
On this day we remember the courage and sacrifice of the students, workers, and others who were peacefully protesting in the streets of Beijing and over 400 other cities to call for democracy, human rights, and an end to corruption. Sadly, the Chinese Communist Party disbursed these peaceful protesters by using military force in Tiananmen Square, crushing their peaceful demands for rights and reform. To this day, all commemoration and discussion of the protests and their violent repression are censored. We stand with the surviving family members of the victims, including the courageous Tiananmen Mothers, who are still seeking truth and justice at great personal risk.
We call on the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to provide a full, public accounting of those killed and missing and to allow open discussion and study of the events surrounding June 4, 1989.
Thirty-one years after the bloodshed, efforts by the people of China to exercise their fundamental freedoms too often continue to be met with brutal repression. We stand in solidarity with all prisoners of conscience and call for their unconditional release. We stand with Tibetans and Uyghurs, whose religion and culture are being methodically strangled. We stand with the people of Hong Kong, where promises of freedom and autonomy are being systematically dismantled. We stand with Chinese lawyers pursuing justice, religious groups seeking to worship without restrictions, organizers of independent labor unions and civil society, and those simply seeking to express their views, for which too many are harassed, punished, imprisoned, and even tortured.
We know the spirit of Tiananmen is alive and well in Hong Kong where for three decades hundreds of thousands of people have come together in Victoria Park to hold a candlelight vigil. This year, for the first time, this peaceful commemoration has been banned by the Hong Kong police in a clear sign that Hong Kong’s fundamental freedoms and human rights are under threat.
We conclude with the words of the Tiananmen Mothers, renewing our pledge to always remember this tragic anniversary and to work for a day when the brave legacy of the Tiananmen generation can finally be realized in China and around the world.
“The hard facts of the massacre are etched into history. No one can erase it; no power, however mighty, can alter it; and no words or tongues, however clever, can deny it.” –Tiananmen Mothers