US calls on China to honour Tiananmen Square massacre victims

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 08:27 AM(IST)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Photograph:( Reuters )

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"The United States calls on China to honour the memory of those who lost their lives and to provide a full accounting of those who were killed, detained, or remain missing in connection with the events surrounding the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Thursday, joining the global condemnation of the massacre.

The United States has called on China to provide a full accounting of those who were killed, detained or remain missing in connection with events surrounding the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

"The United States calls on China to honour the memory of those who lost their lives and to provide a full accounting of those who were killed, detained, or remain missing in connection with the events surrounding the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Thursday, joining the global condemnation of the massacre.

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) slaughter of unarmed Chinese civilians was a tragedy that will not be forgotten, she said.

"The American people reflect on the courage and optimism of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens who gathered peacefully 31 years ago in Beijing and throughout China to protest widespread official corruption and demand a greater say in the governance of their country," McEnany said on the 31st anniversary of the incident.

On this day of remembrance, the people of the US call upon the Chinese government to fulfil its commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, to uphold the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Chinese citizens under China's constitution, and to end the systematic persecution of millions of ethnic and religious minorities, she said.

"The American people stand together with all Chinese citizens in their pursuit of fundamental rights, including the right to accountable and representative governance and freedom of speech, assembly, and religious belief," the press secretary said.

A day earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Tiananmen Square survivors at the Department of State.

"We mourn the victims of June 4, 1989, and we stand with the people of China who continue to aspire to a government that protects human rights, fundamental, freedoms, and basic human dignity," said State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

In a joint statement, a bipartisan group of more than a dozen influential senators from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the 31st anniversary is not just a time for mourning, but a call to action.

"Let us ensure that the United States remains a champion for freedom, and a defender of those who stand for democracy, freedom and equality for all," they said in the statement.
In the years since the Tiananmen massacre, the CCP has continued down a path of repression, the senator alleged.

"Under Chairman Xi, we have seen further deterioration of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rule of law in China", they said.

"Daily freedoms have also been lost to the CCP's widespread and intrusive mass surveillance system. Even more concerning is that this model of authoritarianism is becoming more influential to regimes around the world as the CCP seeks to reshape international rules and norms to accommodate its interests," according to the statement.

The massacre was no accident said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

"It was caused by China's fear of freedom and democracy. Today, as China has risen on the world stage, that fear has gone global. The crackdown in Hong Kong, the concentration camps in Western China, and the unwarranted aggression towards democratic India and Taiwan are just the latest signs," he said.

For more than three decades, protesters around the world, including in the US, have been inspired by the bravery shown by the protestors of Tiananmen, many risking their lives to fight for their rights, said Senator Ed Markey.

"They must not have died in vain. We must continue to hold up these values as the focal point of American foreign policy, but we have to recognise our own failings, and work to fully achieve the same freedoms here at home," he said.

Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that 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," he said.

Engel said he condemns the Chinese government's assault on the rule of law, trampling of international norms, and its abysmal record on human rights.

(with inputs from PTI)

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