The PJ Tatler

On Tiananmen Anniversary, a Bit of 'Concern' from State Department on Horrid Human Rights

tankman

The State Department has been stressing that Secretary of State John Kerry has continued to work while in the hospital for a broken leg, and his doctor said they’d have him up and walking today.

But Kerry, who visited Chinese leaders last month, left the recognition of the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary to his spokesman.

“Twenty six years after the Chinese government’s violent suppression of peaceful protests in and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, the United States continues to call for an official accounting of the victims of these events, the release of those still serving Tiananmen-related sentences, and an end to the harassment and detention of those who wish to peacefully commemorate the anniversary,” press secretary John Kirby said in a statement this morning.

“While China has achieved social and economic progress since 1989, we remain concerned that human rights abuses continue. We are closely monitoring developments with respect to pending legislation in China relating to national security, counterterrorism, and the regulation of NGOs that appears to call into question China’s commitment to increased openness and could, if enacted in current form, result in rights abuses,” Kirby continued.

“On this twenty-sixth anniversary, the United States urges the Chinese government to uphold its international commitments to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to end the harassment, detention, and other mistreatment of individuals who peacefully seek justice and fairness, to practice their religion, or to express their views.”

On the 25th anniversary, leaders of the protest movement testified before Congress that America, if it didn’t show up then, should at least put humans before lucrative deals with the People’s Republic today. The White House passed on making any official statement last year, as President Obama kissed up to China for a one-sided climate change deal and seeks deeper relations.

2013 was the worst year since the 1990s in terms of the arrest of dissidents, and crackdowns continue.

Beijing has tried so hard to scrub the Tiananmen massacre from their history books that only 15 out of 100 university students could correctly identify the iconic Tank Man photo when shown it by NPR writer Louisa Lim.

But in Hong Kong, Tiananmen is not forgotten, much to the consternation of pro-PRC authorities. Not only do students there now own their own protest movement, the Umbrella Revolution, but they kept vigil for Chinese who still don’t have the right to do so.