Rep. Christopher Cox
Condemning the Crackdown on Democracy Protestors in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in the People’s Republic of China on the 15th Anniversary of that Tragic Massacre
June 2, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for the time.
I thank the gentleman
That day in June of
1989 is, of course, remembered for the tragedy, but it should also be
remembered as one of the high points in the progress towards democracy in
human rights in the People's Republic of
At the same time, we
are supporting the people of
As Communist regimes
were falling in
The statue of the
Goddess of Democracy showed the world that
When the Chinese Army
injured or killed hundreds of unarmed civilians, some people insisted that
this showed the true face of
Yet contrary to the drumbeat sounded by some advocates of engagement, this resolution warns that China's willingness to engage in the world economy has not yet translated into evolution toward democracy nor even an improvement in the Chinese people's religious, human or worker rights.
I will never forget the audience I had with Jiang Zemin in the Great Hall of the People when I asked him, because they were then advertising the village elections that they were having as a step on the road to democracy, when might we have elections in China for a mayor or a city council. He said to me, not for at least 20 years. I still do not know to this day whether that is exactly what he said, because he might just as well have said not in my lifetime. It would have been literally a correct translation.
Here we are many years later, and there have been no steps towards that kind of authentic democracy. In fact, in Hong Kong, where that kind of democracy under the one-country, two-systems model is eminently possible and achievable and where the people of Hong Kong wish devoutly to achieve that result, Beijing has just insisted, in violation of their guarantee in 1997 of the high degree of autonomy to the people of Hong Kong, that there will not be universal suffrage and free elections for the chief executive or for a legislative council in 2007 and 2008.
With this resolution,
Congress shows we remember and we will not forget. We insist that our
Mr. Speaker, the PRC
cannot seek a spirit of cooperation between our governments, as they claim to
want during a recent visit by Vice President Cheney, and at the same time so
horribly mistreat their own people. Americans, as friends of the people of
The reflections published in the Wall Street Journal today by Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the 1989 Chinese democracy movement, were poignant. He said, ``It is clear to me as never before that the Tiananmen massacre was an unavoidable step in the long path to a free China and that true political reform can never come from within the Communist Party.''
He lamented that ``Communist leaders, be they conservatives or reformists, are all wedded to retaining the current political system, complete with its problems such as corruption and lack of accountability. And far from easing its iron grip on all forms of political dissent, the new leadership now seems intent on extending it to Hong Kong.''
It is striking, with
all of the progress that we have seen in other areas, that
the current Communist Party leaders in
Is it not a terrible
irony that the current leaders of the People's Republic of
One of the
demonstrators, one of the organizers of what happened in
He decided that he
wanted to go back to
condemned and deplored the detention of Dr. Yang Jianli
and the lack of due process afforded him. It called on the Government of the
People's Republic of
In 2003, the United Nations, through its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which I should point out is a group that includes Algeria, France, Paraguay, Hungary, and even Iran, a very diverse group, concluded that in this case continuing to hold Dr. Yang is a violation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The U.N. working group clearly and specifically declared that Yang Jianli's detention was illegal.
It is not just that he is being detained; it is that he is being abused. He is being virtually deprived of his human rights even as a prisoner. Not only was he arbitrarily placed for lengthy periods in solitary confinement; he was handcuffed for so long that his wrists bled. He was denied access even to books, newspapers, not to mention a lawyer.
Releasing Dr. Yang
would be a small, but important, gesture that the Communist Government had
learned something since
As we remember
Mr. Speaker, I strongly support the passage by this House of this important resolution marking this sad anniversary, but this joyful anniversary that eventually will see freedom in China.
Article 19 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly guarantees the freedom to ``receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.''
According to Amnesty International, a growing number of Chinese people are being detained or sentenced for peacefully expressing their views or downloading information on the Internet. The detained include students, political dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, workers, writers, lawyers, teachers, civil servants, former police officers, engineers, and businessmen.
Signing online petitions, calling for reform and an end to corruption, planning to set up a pro-democracy party, publishing ``rumours about SARS,'' communicating with groups abroad, opposing the persecution of the Falun Gong and calling for a review of the 1989 crackdown on the democracy protests are all examples of activities considered by the PRC's dictatorial regime to be ``subversive'' or a danger to ``state security.'' Such charges almost always result in prison sentences.
There is a role for the
The ability of people
around the world to freely access news and information via the Internet may
be the greatest threat to tyranny and the most powerful weapon possessed by
free people that we have seen in our lifetimes. Indeed, Internet access is
rapidly expanding in
But, just as Communist
governments during the Cold War sought to keep uncensored news from their
people by jamming Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the government of
China today retains strict control over the information Chinese citizens can
access on the Internet. During the past few years,
According to Human Rights Watch, Chinese web publisher Huang Qi, after enduring a 3-year detention, was finally sentenced last summer to 5 years in prison for the crime of subversion. What was he publishing? The online equivalent of our milk carton notices about missing persons. He had dared to create a website at which people could share information about missing friends and family members and he actually helped rescue several young girls who had been abducted and sold into marriage. Because his site also featured criticism of several state-run agencies, he now spends his days in prison.
That is why I joined Congressman TOM LANTOS, Senator JON KYL, and Senator RON WYDEN in authoring H.R. 48, the Global Internet Freedom Act, which would create a new Office of Global Internet Freedom within the International Broadcasting Bureau. The Office would develop and implement a global strategy to combat state-sponsored and state-directed Internet jamming and persecution of those who use the Internet. The Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which passed the House on July 16, 2003 but has been stymied by the other body, authorizes $8 million per year for the Office of Global Internet Freedom.
With the Global
Internet Freedom Act, within the larger State Department bill, Congress can
authorize $8 million annually to the proposed Office of Global Internet
Freedom so that the
The Chinese people certainly
still need these tools, because the thought police in
Despite the early
release of several high-profile Tibetan dissidents, suppression of political
dissent and restrictions on religious freedom continue throughout
Meanwhile, in northwest
Members of unofficial spiritual or religious groups, including some Qi Gong groups and unregistered Christian groups, continue to be arbitrarily detained, tortured and ill-treated. Detained Falun Gong practitioners, including large numbers of women, are at risk of torture, including sexual abuse, particularly if they refuse to renounce their beliefs.
It is fitting that, as we debate this resolution, the Victims of Communism Memorial is nearing construction on Capitol Hill. The Memorial, which will commemorate this struggle by paying tribute to more than 100 million victims of Communist atrocities around the world, will prominently feature a replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue created by pro-freedom activists in Tiananmen Square, in addition to an eternal flame to the victims of Communism and bronze panels with quotes from heroes of the Cold War.
Wang Dan said, ``The
1989 student movement played an invaluable role in pointing out the path to
Today, on a bipartisan
basis, Congress stands united in support of freedom for the people of
return to my Congressional index