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Public Statements

Recognizing the 17th Aniversary of the Massacre in Tiananmen Square

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. PELOSI. Madam Speaker, it has been 17 years since the Chinese government unleashed the People's Liberation Army on its own defenseless people in Tiananmen Square. Today, the House of Representatives pays tribute to the brave souls who stood up for freedom, only to be met with a hail of bullets and a new era of repression.

The forward march of freedom has often been advanced by people who defied the powers of their day to demand the liberties and human rights to which all people everywhere are entitled.

We remember how Chinese students, workers, and citizens marched in peace; how they raised a Goddess of Democracy in the image of our own Statue of Liberty; how they quoted our own Founding Fathers.

Seventeen years later, almost every independent organization monitoring human rights believes the situation in China has not significantly improved.

In fact, we know the Chinese government is becoming even more sophisticated, using new technology to monitor and apprehend those who criticize the regime or worship freely. Web service providers are required to censor information. Sadly, they are complying instead of using their leverage to push for change.

Religious believers continue to be a target of the Chinese government, subjected to harassment and detention for only practicing their faith.

Chinese authorities require Tibetans to denounce the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader and imprison individuals for simply owning pictures of the Dalai Lama.

Bush Administration officials say they hope China will become a ``responsible stakeholder'' in world affairs. We should avoid wishful thinking about the intentions of the Chinese government.

In addition to the deplorable human rights conditions, the Chinese government is providing military technology to countries that threaten international security including Iran and North Korea, threatening Taiwan with a military attack, and violating its trade agreements.

Certainly we need to engage China, but it should be sustainable engagement that enables us to sustain our values, sustain our economic growth, and sustain our national security.

Today, we once again call on Beijing to release the thousands of prisoners whose only crime is to demand their basic human rights.

We call on the Chinese government to open up the Laogai prison system to the International Red Cross so the world can see what really is going on.

The spirit of Tiananmen endures and inspires. Tanks and troops may crush a protest, but they can never extinguish the flame of freedom that bums in every human heart.


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