Chairs' Statement on 33rd Anniversary of the Violent Suppression of the Tiananmen Protests

June 3, 2022

(Washington)—Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) issued the following statement commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and their violent suppression.

“Today we commemorate the violent suppression of the 1989 protests because there is still no justice for those who lost their lives or were injured or traumatized for peacefully seeking democratic reforms and the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We commemorate this tragedy every year because it is too dangerous to do so in mainland China and is now even prohibited in Hong Kong, where annual vigils had taken place since 1990. Today we honor the courage of all those who faced tanks and batons on June 4th and those who continue to seek transparency and information about the events surrounding the massacre, including the Tiananmen Mothers group. Similarly, we honor all those who continue to bravely carry the torch of democratic freedom in today’s China despite systematic repression—rights lawyers; Uyghurs and Tibetans; Christians and Falun Gong practitioners; advocates for democracy and free speech and labor rights; and all those yearning for an end to torture, arbitrary detention, and genocide."

"We pledge to remember the Tiananmen Massacre in the U.S. Congress until everyone in China and Hong Kong can do so freely and without fear.”

“We call on the Chinese government to allow free and open discussion surrounding the events of 1989 and to reckon publicly with the horrific violence the Chinese Communist Party and military unleashed on the Chinese people. We call on the Hong Kong government to drop charges and release all those detained for gathering to remember the Tiananmen tragedy and to allow the resumption of the annual vigil in Victoria Park.”

“Congress can honor the 1989 pro-democracy generation by acting to help today’s generation of democracy and human rights activists, who have been jailed or forced into exile by Chinese government and Hong Kong authorities complicit with the Chinese Communist Party. We reiterate our call for conferees on the innovation bill to include provisions for safe and secure humanitarian pathways for entry into the United States for Hong Kong residents and Uyghurs fleeing persecution.”

“On this day we are also reminded that yearning for human dignity and rights is universal, not limited to any one region or country. We will continue to work for a future where the spirit and legacy of Tiananmen can finally be realized, in China and around the world.”