Gardner, Markey, Risch, Menendez, Toomey, Rubio Resolution on 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre

Legislation condemns intensifying repression and human rights violations by Chinese government today

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have introduced legislation recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, and condemning increasing repression and human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the use of surveillance by Chinese authorities.

“It’s an honor to lead this bipartisan resolution recognizing the 30th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square and demanding that the Communist Party of China respect the basic human rights of the Chinese people,” said Sen. Gardner.“The United States was founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all – and these fundamental values should always be reflected in our nation’s foreign policy. I will never stop advocating for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in China and around the world.”

“Thirty years ago, the brave voices of democracy were stifled by a horrific Chinese government crackdown,” said Sen. Markey. “Today, we are witnessing the same brutality against religious minorities, journalists, and human rights defenders. As we recognize the importance of the U.S-China relationship, members of Congress have an obligation to call out the ongoing assault against human rights and liberties in China, and to stand with those fighting for their basic rights and dignities. I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution, which commemorates the sacrifices made on June 4, 1989.”

“Today it’s important that we remember the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, as the hundreds and possibly thousands of them will go forever unnamed and unreported by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Sen. Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We also recognize and commend the brave Chinese citizens who are still striving for freedom today in the face of escalating oppression and ongoing human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government wants to be respected on the world stage, but that’s impossible to do given its brutal repression and disregard for the rule of law.”

“The China that challenges us today is the China that chose its path on those fateful days in June of 1989,” said Sen. Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Beijing’s crackdown on civil society and human rights, repression of ethnic and religious minorities, including in Xinjiang, and introduction of an Orwellian system of mass surveillance is deeply concerning.  Democracy will not defend itself.  The challenges of 2019 require Congress to stand up as a separate and co-equal branch of government to defend democracy, and make clear that we will not sit idly by as China exports its authoritarianism to susceptible countries around the world. We owe those who stood in Tiananmen 30 years ago nothing less.”

“Today, we honor the Chinese citizens who 30 years ago stood in protest at Tiananmen Square to demand freedom from repression,” said Sen. Toomey. “To this day, the ruling Chinese Communist Party still denies what happened next – the senseless slaughter of countless innocent citizens. We must never forget this terrible crime against the Chinese people.”

“We remember the Tiananmen Square massacre — not simply as an historical event, but as a present and poignant reminder that when the Chinese people are free to assemble, to speak, and to act, they call for freedom, democracy, and political reforms,” said Sen. Rubio. “Thirty years after the tragic events of Tiananmen Square, the free world is faced with an increasingly aggressive Chinese Communist government that is more repressive domestically, ignoring international norms, and is exporting its authoritarian model globally. As we honor those who died at Tiananmen and those whose lives were irrevocably altered by that day’s events, we recommit ourselves to exposing and pushing back against the Chinese government’s egregious and systematic human rights abuses and increasingly sophisticated surveillance regime, including in Xinjiang where China has detained over one million Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities to so-called ‘political re-education camps.’ To do anything less dishonors the spirit of Tiananmen.”

The Senate resolution:

(1) expresses its deepest sympathy with the family, friends, colleagues, and classmates of the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre; 
(2) condemns the use of violence as a means to repress the legitimate aspirations of the Chinese people to speak and associate freely, including to petition the government and challenge the policies and ideology of the Chinese Communist Party; 
(3) calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to invite full and independent investigations into the Tiananmen Square massacre by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; 
(4) calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to release all political prisoners, including prisoners held because of their participation in the Tiananmen Square protest or actions pursuing reforms called for by the individuals gathered in Tiananmen Square; 
(5) calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to refrain from intimidating protest participants who fled China and allow them to return to China without fear of detention or other repercussions; 
(6) calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to cease its current repression of the Chinese people, including of lawyers and activists who stand up for the rights of their fellow citizens; 
(7) urges the Government of the People’s Republic of China to cease the use of emerging technologies as tools of oppression; 
(8) calls on the United States Government and Members of Congress to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, including by—

  • (A) meeting with participants of the Tiananmen Square protests who now live outside of China;
  • (B) meeting with others outside of China who have been blacklisted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China as a result of their peaceful protest activities;
  • (C) supporting calls for accountability for the officials who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre; and
  • (D) supporting individuals who continue to call for reforms in China to further the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom to petition the government, and freedom of religion; and

(9) calls on the international community to cooperate in addressing the Government of the People's Republic of China's continued persecution of its own citizens, including the use of intrusive mass surveillance.

Full text of the resolution can be found online.

###