Statement by Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, on the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

“On behalf of the International Campaign for Tibet, I express solidarity with the Chinese people on the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square. We mourn those who died that day and remember the suffering of those injured, arrested and tortured, as well as their families.

“The events of June 4 remind us that the march of history toward freedom and justice can take long and dark detours. The civil liberties of the Chinese people are arguably worse off today than in 1989, given the technological tools of repression vigorously employed by the Chinese party/state. But we firmly believe that freedom and justice will prevail for the 1.3 billion people, among the many nationalities, within the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“Months before the military cracked down on democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square, the Tibet Autonomous Region was put under martial law, following protests by Tibetans calling for the respect of their fundamental rights. When it passed the so-called Tiananmen sanctions, the United States Congress included Tibet conditions that would have to be met before the sanctions could be lifted. These included the release of political prisoners, human rights improvements, and ending bans on the free flow of information. These conditions are far from being met.

“While there is no talk in the U.S. about lifting Tiananmen sanctions, there remains debate in the European Union about whether to lift the embargo on arms sales to China, imposed at the same time. This reminds us of the need for all democratic governments to craft a common position on China, to include human rights conditions and policy on Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

“Change in China and Tibet will ultimately come from within. Despite official efforts to repress it, the yearning for democratic rights of citizens in the PRC is no less today than it was in 1989. Democratization remains the essential pathway to a free China and a free Tibet. The world’s democracies should reinvigorate efforts to help all the people in the PRC exercise their fundamental democratic freedoms.”

 

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