Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Chinese government’s violent crackdown against peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square:
“In the decades since the Tiananmen massacre, the Chinese government has hidden the truth about that tragedy and become increasingly authoritarian, brutally repressing human rights, ethnic and religious minorities, and civil society leaders. Chinese authorities have exported their authoritarian system internationally, stepped up aggression in disputed territories—including the South China Sea, East China Sea, and along its border with India —and violated Hong Kong’s autonomy. I condemn the Chinese government’s assault on the rule of law, its trampling of international norms, and its abysmal record on human rights. I also commemorate and celebrate the brave men and women who have risked their lives to speak out against this authoritarianism, then and now.
“But I cannot honor the events of 1989 or recent events in Hong Kong without acknowledging what’s happening here at home: the suppression of Americans exercising their rights to free speech and association, protesting a racist system rooted in the darkest chapters of our history that continues to subject African-Americans to violence, brutalization, and murder.
“In times like these, we normally look to the President to lead, unify, and heal. President Trump instead ordered a crowd of peaceful protestors to be tear gassed so that he could walk across the street for a photo-op. He has glorified violence. He has threatened to deploy U.S. military forces against American citizens, with his enablers in Congress cheering him on. This does not look like American democracy, and it should deeply trouble each and every one of us.
“As we commemorate those murdered in Tiananmen, we must also have the courage and persistence to stand up against injustice here at home. Our actions today must be worthy of the memory of all those who have sacrificed themselves for the cause of a more free and just world.”
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