'People denied basic rights and freedom in China': US lawmakers condemn repression by CPC
Washington, June 5: Top US lawmakers have introduced a resolution in the Senate, recognising the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China and condemning the increasing repression and human rights violations by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
On June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square in Beijing witnessed brutal massacre of students rebelling against the CPC, demanding democracy. Thousands were believed to have been killed in the protests. The massive square became famous all over the world with an iconic picture of a young man standing before a row of battle tanks in a bid to stop them.
Expressing sympathy with the family, friends, colleagues and classmates of the victims of the massacre, the Senate resolution, introduced Tuesday, condemns the use of violence as a means to repress the legitimate aspirations of the Chinese people to speak and associate freely, including to petition the government and challenge the policies and ideology of the CPC. It calls on the Chinese Government to invite full and independent investigations into the Tiananmen Square massacre by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The resolution also calls on China to release all political prisoners, including prisoners held because of their participation in the Tiananmen Square protest or actions pursuing reforms called for by the individuals gathered there. People around the world stand in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, who stood for freedom and democracy in China thirty years ago, House Majority Leader Steny H Hoyer said on Tuesday.
"The brutal government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square and the Chinese government's subsequent efforts to hide the history of that episode, remain a powerful reminder that a billion of our fellow men and women who live in the People's Republic of China continue to be denied basic rights and freedoms and a chance to have a voice in shaping their own future," he said.
"As we mark this sombre anniversary, we do so at a time when the Chinese government continues to engage in a systematic repression of Muslims, Tibetans, other ethnic minorities and political dissidents," he added. Hoyer said that the United States must use its relationship with China to push for the human rights and freedom of its people, "just as we did for those living behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. We must never abandon our solidarity with those who yearn for freedom," Hoyer said.
Senator Bob Menendez, who along with several other lawmakers introduced the resolution against the communist nation, said the China that challenges US today is the country that chose its path on those fateful days in June of 1989. "Beijing's crackdown on civil society and human rights, repression of ethnic and religious minorities, including in Xinjiang, and introduction of an Orwellian system of mass surveillance is deeply concerning. Democracy will not defend itself," he said.
"The challenges of 2019 require Congress to stand up as a separate and co-equal branch of government to defend democracy. We owe those who stood in Tiananmen 30 years ago nothing less," Menendez said.
Senator Marco Rubio said that thirty years after the tragic events of Tiananmen Square, the free world is faced with an increasingly aggressive Chinese Communist government that is more repressive domestically, ignores international norms and is exports its authoritarian model globally. Senator Ed Markey said, "thirty years ago, the brave voices of democracy were stifled by a horrific Chinese government crackdown."
"Today, we are witnessing the same brutality against religious minorities, journalists, and human rights defenders. As we recognize the importance of the US-China relationship, members of Congress have an obligation to call out the ongoing assault against human rights and liberties in China and to stand with those fighting for their basic rights and dignities," he said.
Senator Jim Inhofe said that in the past 30 years, Chinese regime has moved from slaughtering students in Tiananmen Square to incarcerating Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in concentration camps, persecuting Christians and people of other faiths, and building an invasive surveillance system to export around the world.
"Now, the Chinese Communist Party wants to expand their authoritarian model beyond their periphery. We can and must not accept this. That's why I'm working to implement the National Defense Strategy - which emphasizes strategic competition with China. June 4 is a painful reminder of what is at stake in this competition for America's interests and values," he said.
Senator Ben Cardin said the violent crackdown on dissidents will forever be a stain on China's history, despite all attempts by the communist government to erase such memories. "The world remembers a lone man standing in front of a tank, ready to sacrifice himself for freedom. The world will remember the cruelty and the authoritarian response to people who only wanted to have more control over their own livelihoods," he said.