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Rubio: Tiananmen Anniversary A Reminder That China Deserves No More Free Passes On Human Rights

Jun 3, 2015 | Press Releases

On Human Rights, No More Free Passes For China
By Marco Rubio
National Review Online
June 3, 2015
Twenty-six years ago this week, student-led popular protests gripped Beijing. Spurred by the death of a prominent reformer, thousands gathered in Tiananmen Square in April 1989 to seek greater political freedom. As the days passed, their numbers swelled not only in the capital but also in cities and universities across the nation until more than a million — including journalists, workers, government employees, and police — joined their ranks, making it the largest political protest in the history of Communist China.
Late in the evening of June 3, the army opened fire on peaceful “counter-revolutionary” protesters. The bloodshed continued into June 4. To this day, we don’t know the precise number of resulting casualties; and more than a quarter century later, there has been no public accounting of the events of that week. Rather, those seeking to commemorate the dead are harassed, detained, and arrested.
Perhaps the most iconic image to emerge from the Tiananmen Massacre is the so-called tank man — the small lone figure, shopping bags in hand, who jockeyed to position himself in the path of an advancing line of People’s Liberation Army tanks. His actions flew in the face of every human impulse to avoid impending danger. The “tank man” remains an enigma — his fate unknown. Some speculate imprisonment, others execution. Still others venture that he is alive today, unaware of his fame because of the Orwellian lengths that the Chinese government’s Internet censors have gone to block any searches of the events of those June days in 1989.
Despite the fact that China’s rulers revealed the true nature of their regime that day, too many of our political and business elite have been content with the status quo in China, especially with regard to basic human rights and liberties, which China has long repressed. In fact, U.S. policy has aimed at engaging with the Chinese Communist Party, surrendering American influence and principles.

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