Tiananmen at 31: Commissioners Introduce Bipartisan Resolution and Condemn Imposition of National Security Law in Hong Kong

June 4, 2020

(Washington)—Commissioners from the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) introduced a resolution on the thirty-first anniversary of the Tiananmen protests and their violent suppression. The resolution condemns the Chinese government’s efforts to dismantle the promised freedoms and autonomy of Hong Kong, including through the arbitrary arrest of democracy advocates and the forced imposition of national security legislation and it calls on the Administration to build an international coalition, and use all available diplomatic means and targeted sanctions, to protect the human rights of the Hong Kong people.

The bipartisan resolution was led by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and James P. McGovern (D-MA) in the House and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate. Additional cosponsors of the resolution are Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Todd Young (R-IN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Representatives Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). McGovern and Rubio are the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the CECC. Feinstein, Smith, King, Daines, Suozzi, Hartzler, Peters, McAdams, and Malinowski are CECC Commissioners.

“Thirty-one years ago today, the world watched with a mixture of hope and anticipation as over a million people gathered peacefully to demand democracy and human rights in the streets of Beijing and over 400 other Chinese cities,” said Smith. “With this resolution we solemnly remember the Tiananmen massacre because there is still no justice for those who lost their lives or suffered imprisonment and torture for peacefully seeking freedom and reform. We commemorate the tragedy of Tiananmen because it is an event too important to forget and too dangerous to commemorate in China. The hopes of the Tiananmen protesters survive among the Chinese people. We stand in solidarity with them, and the people of Hong Kong, as they seek liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.”  

“With this resolution we recognize the courage and sacrifice of all who peacefully demanded human rights and democracy thirty one years ago and honor those, like the Tiananmen Mothers group, who continue to seek truth and justice for the victims who died in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and over 400 other Chinese cities,” said McGovern. “The people of Hong Kong have always kept the spirit of Tiananmen alive with their annual candlelight vigil that courageously continues this year even though it was banned by the Hong Kong police. As national security legislation is being imposed in the city, we stand in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and call on the Administration to use all diplomatic means, including targeted sanctions, to protect Hong Kong’s rule of law and freedoms.”      

“I’m proud to join this bicameral and bipartisan group of legislators as we remember the events that occurred 31 years ago around Tiananmen Square where courageous Chinese citizens assembled in defense of their basic freedoms,” said Rubio. “As the Chinese government and Communist Party continues to systematically repress its citizens as well as Uyghurs, Tibetans, and actively undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy, the United States remains committed to honoring the memories of those who perished and keeping their legacy alive.”

“On this 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, we affirm the importance of standing with those who stand for freedom and for the right to peacefully protest,” said Merkley. “This resolution sends a strong, bipartisan message to the Chinese government that the United States stands with brave defenders of freedom—from the victims in Tiananmen Square and democracy advocates in Hong Kong, to the millions of Uyghurs persecuted in Xinjiang—against their repression.”

“More than three decades ago, hundreds—possibly thousands—of demonstrators were killed by the Chinese military in Tiananmen Square while peacefully protesting for reform,” said Feinstein. “Nonviolent protest is the hallmark of any democracy. China’s violent repression of dissent was wrong in 1989 and it’s still wrong today as they persecute Uyghurs and crack down on Hong Kong’s autonomy. The United States must keep pressuring China to respect human rights and democracy, and we must lead by example as Americans continue protesting across the country.”

“Today we commemorate the tragic massacre directed by the Chinese Communist Party at Tiananmen Square,” said Suozzi. “We stand with the Chinese people, and call on the Chinese government to stop its egregious abuses, especially in light of the current non-violent protests happening in Hong Kong.”

“Hong Kong represents a brave bastion of individual freedom, democracy, and free market capitalism in the face of China’s constant authoritarian threat. I applaud their courage in their advocacy for the freedom of expression, a chilling reality 31 years after China’s brutal crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square,” said Hartzler. “The aggressive actions taken by communist Beijing over the last year against Hong Kong and its people, shows the world exactly what China’s agenda is – suppression of peaceful demonstrations, degradation of democratic institutions, and a lack of regard over Hong Kong’s autonomy. I applaud all Members signing onto this resolution, solidifying America’s unity to Hong Kong and their cause for freedom.”

Full text of this year’s resolution can be found here.

See also the video and statements from the hearing Tiananmen at 30: Examining the Evolution of Repression in China held jointly by the CECC, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.