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Condemning the Crackdown on Democracy Protestors in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in the People's Republic of China on 15th Anniversary

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Location: Washington, DC


CONDEMNING THE CRACKDOWN ON DEMOCRACY PROTESTORS IN TIANANMEN SQUARE, BEIJING, IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THAT TRAGIC MASSACRE -- (House of Representatives - June 02, 2004)

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 655) condemning the crackdown on democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in the People's Republic of China on the 15th anniversary of that tragic massacre.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for her comments and for her leadership on this, and the prime sponsor of this resolution, the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox). The Cox-Pelosi resolution before us is extremely important and very timely.

Mr. Speaker, in December of 1996 here in Washington, at the invitation of President Bill Clinton, General Chi Haotian, the Defense Minister of the People's Republic of China, the general who was the operational commander of the soldiers who slaughtered pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square in June of 1989, said, "Not a single person lost his life in Tiananmen Square." According to General Chi, the Chinese Army did nothing more violent than, and I quote him, "pushing of people."

General Chi not only met with Mr. Clinton in the White House but was accorded full military honors, including a 19-gun salute and visits to military bases. Rather than getting the red carpet, Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully submit that General Chi should have been held to account for his crimes against humanity.

Mr. Speaker, to counter the big lie that he proffered right here in Washington, D.C., I quickly put together and chaired a hearing of eyewitnesses to Tiananmen Square, to the massacre, including several Chinese, a former editor of the People's Daily, and Time Magazine's Beijing bureau chief. We also invited General Chi or anyone else to testify before our committee from the government of China. They were no shows, although we left a chair for them.

One of our witnesses, a man by the name of Xuecan Wu, the former editor of the People's Daily, was singled out by Li Peng for punishment and got 4 years in prison for trying to tell the truth to his readers in Beijing. Mr. Wu called General Chi's lie about no one being killed "shameless" and told my subcommittee that he personally saw at least, and I quote him here, "at least 30 carts carrying dead and wounded people."

Eyewitness Jian-Ki Yang, Vice President of the Alliance for a Democratic China, testified, and I quote, "I saw trucks of soldiers who got out and started firing automatic weapons at the people. Each time they fired the weapons, three or four people were hit, and each time the crowd went down to the ground. We were there for about an hour and a half. I saw 13 people killed. We saw four tanks coming from the square, and they were going very fast at a very high speed. The two tanks in front were chasing students."

Imagine that, Mr. Speaker, tanks chasing students.

He went on to say, "They ran over the students. Everyone was screaming. We counted 11 bodies."

Mr. Speaker, Time Magazine's David Aikman, another eyewitness said, and I quote, "Children were killed holding hands with their mothers. A 9-year-old boy was shot seven or eight times in the back, and his parents placed the corpse on a truck and drove through the streets of northwest Beijing on Sunday morning. 'This is what the government has done,' the distraught mother kept telling crowds of passersby through a makeshift speaker system."

Mr. Aikman went on to say in his testimony that "officials at the Chinese Red Cross reported 2,600 people dead, but then they too were ordered to keep silent and to deny that they had ever given out such figures."

Today, Mr. Speaker, 15 years after Tiananmen Square, after a brutal massacre, the Chinese government perpetuates General Chi's Orwellian fabrication that no one died. It is now clear that thousands died and approximately 7,000 were wounded. Fifteen years after Tiananmen Square, some 2,000 people remain incarcerated for peacefully advocating human rights. To be jailed by the Chinese, as we all know, means torture, humiliation, and severe deprivations.

Mr. Speaker, in the early 1990s, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf) and I visited Beijing Prison Number 1, a bleak gulag where 40 Tiananmen Square prisoners were being unjustly detained. We saw firsthand the price paid by brave and tenacious individuals for peacefully petitioning their government for freedom. And it was not pretty. They looked like the walking skeletons of Auschwitz.

Mr. Speaker, we do not know how many of those are still languishing in prison. Some, perhaps all of them, are still there; but of the 20,000 originally arrested and detained, like I said, approximately 2,000 continue in the gulags and in the Laogai of China.

Mr. Speaker, let me say that, despite the hopes and expectation of some that robust trade with China would usher in at least a modicum of respect for human rights and fundamental liberties, the simple fact of the matter is that the dictatorship in China oppresses, tortures and mistreats millions of its own citizens. Moreover, China is the land of the one-child-per-couple policy, a barbaric policy that makes brothers and sisters illegal. Forced abortion, force sterilization and ruinous fines are routinely deployed to ensure compliance with this Draconian and utterly cruel family planning policy.

Mr. Speaker, according to the U.S. Department of State, the government's human rights record remains poor. They start off with that in this year's report. And the government continues, the State Department goes on to say, to commit numerous and serious abuses. The Country Reports of Human Rights Practices also went on to say that there was backsliding. It was already bad and now it is even getting worse, and the word backsliding was used. And abuses including killing, torture, mistreatment of prisoners and forced confessions are among those that have gotten worse.

Finally, let me say in April the Chinese government openly gloated over the defeat once again of a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Commission. I would say parenthetically, given the makeup of the Commission, the outcome came as no surprise. Rogue nations proliferate and are all over that Commission. They make a beeline for that Commission to mitigate human rights adherence and enforcement and bringing rogue nations to confront these abuses.

In one stunningly absurd statement, Chinese Ambassador Sha Zukang said the U.S. proposal and the resolution was done out of, and this is his words, "disappointment and jealousy."

I would just like to say to the Chinese government and to Ambassador Sha Zukang, we proposed it because we care and we are in solidarity with the oppressed and we want to hold the oppressor to account. Disappointment and jealousy? I do not think so. This is all about trying to help those who are under the cruel boot of the Chinese dictatorship.

Mr. Speaker, I participated in the meetings in Geneva, and I confronted the Chinese leadership in an open forum. I have to say they were amazingly inept, and they were unprofessional. All they could do during the course of the debate was to deny, to deny, and to deny and to question our motives. And then, when things were not going well for them, they abruptly ended the meeting.

Mr. Speaker, someday the good and honorable people of China will live in freedom; and I believe the martyrs of Tiananmen who have suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of a government and were jailed and were wounded and murdered will be even more revered and honored for their sacrifice than they are today. This resolution honors those courageous champions of freedom and democracy. I urge its passage.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), the chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security. He is the prime sponsor of this resolution, and we appreciate his leadership on this issue and on human rights in China.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) for yielding me this time.
I want to thank, first of all, the sponsor of the resolution, the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), for a very eloquent statement, and my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos), for his very eloquent statement and for a long-standing commitment to human rights in China, as well as everywhere else in the world where those rights are abridged.

I just want to make a couple of points very briefly. I would hope that every Member, and I am sure they will by the time this is voted upon with a recorded vote, probably tomorrow, to read, those who have not read the full text. And I commend the maker of this resolution, the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), for being so comprehensive not just in the whereases but in the operative clauses.

He mentioned, I think a moment ago, about the Tiananmen mothers. They sent videos to Geneva to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. And because they presented a video to those who were there supposedly gathering information about human rights abuses anywhere and everywhere in the world where there is abuse, for that these Tiananmen mothers were not only arrested, and were subsequently, we understand, let go, but they now are being watched.
These are the mothers who have lost loved ones, sons or daughters, in Tiananmen Square and the days that followed. And the burden they carry having lost their loved ones is only exacerbated by the cruelty of the mothers now being harassed by the dictatorship in Beijing.

The resolution also calls for the release of Dr. Yang Jianli, another veteran of the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, who has been illegally detained in China for over 2 years, so that he may be reunited with his wife and two children in the United States. It is time to let Dr. Yang go, and I hope that the Chinese get that message very, very quickly from what I hope will be a very bipartisan support for this resolution.

It also calls upon nations participating in the 2008 Olympics to use the opportunities created by the games to urge China to fully comply with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. I would remind my colleagues that when the Chinese wanted the Olympics 2000, they let out some very prominent dissidents, including Wei Jingsheng. I happened to be in Beijing on a human rights trip when he was let out. I met with him. When they did not get the Olympics, they went back and rearrested him and put him back into the Laogai and into the gulag in China. A very cynical approach.

This time they got the Olympics, and they did nothing whatsoever to deserve them. So, hopefully, the venue of the 2008 Olympics will be used by those who care about human dignity and human rights to raise these issues very substantively.

There is also the issue of asking for the establishment of a June 4 investigation committee. There has been an absolutely absurd whitewash of what happened the day of June 4 and the days that subsequently followed as a result of the Tiananmen Square massacre and all of the killings that occurred afterwards. The Chinese Government has made part of their three noes, or nonmentionables, the idea you cannot even mention Tiananmen Square; and if you do, you will suffer their brutality.

This is a very, very important resolution. Again, I want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) for his graciousness in yielding this additional time to me. We have no further speakers, and I yield back to the gentleman.

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