WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on June 4 said three decades after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Beijings “record of repression” against its own citizens hasnt changed.
June 4 this year marks the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre.
“For me, today is a very sad and special day,” she said at a press conference.
Pelosi, who is a longtime critic of Chinas human rights record, visited Beijing two years after the crackdown to protest in memory of the victims of the massacre.
“In 1991, I stood in Tiananmen Square by members of Congress, bipartisan, and we unfurled the flag, reading, To those who died for democracy. We were chased by the police. It was a question of who could run faster, because they were after us with clubs,” she said.
“Sadly, decades later, Chinas record of repression is unchanged.”
The protests, a youth-led movement advocating for democratic reforms in China, were forcibly suppressed 31 years ago after the communist regime declared martial law. Chinese troops opened fire on their own people on June 4, 1989, to end the protests around the square.
To this day, the Chinese Communist regime hasnt disclosed the names or the number of those killed during the crackdown. Estimates of the death toll by human rights groups vary from several hundred to several thousand.
“If we refuse to condemn human rights violations in China because of economic concerns, then we lose all moral authority to criticize human rights violations any place in the world,” Pelosi said.
Thousands of people defied a police ban and staged a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong to commemorate the victims of the massacre on June 4.
President Donald Trump last week ordered his administration to begin the process of revoking Hong Kongs preferential trading status after Beijing passed a controversial national security law that would erode the citys autonomy. In addition, the administration said it will “take necessary steps” to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in curbing freedoms in the city.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 1 said the United States might open its doors to people from Hong Kong, a former British colony.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged on June 3 to allow more than 2.8 million people from the city to live and work in the UK if China implements the proposed national security law.
Pelosi expressed concern when asked whether the United States should mirror UKs response and welcome Hongkongers to the United States. She replied by commenting on the UKs proposal to admit Hongkongers.
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