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Pelosi promises US will never forget Tiananmen

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Nancy Pelosi. PHOTO: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images/AFP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Tuesday that the United States would preserve the memory of the crushed Tiananmen Square movement, as China imposed a wall of silence on the 30th anniversary.

Pelosi, a longtime advocate for human rights in China, said she was making the promise to the families of the hundreds or more who were killed when tanks and troops forcibly put down the pro-democracy movement on June 4, 1989.

“Today, and on all days, we assure these mothers that we remember, and that the heroism of their children will continue to be written in the official history of the United States Congress,” Pelosi told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights in the country.

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“We must remember, because China still tries to deny history,” Pelosi said, in a rare appearance by a House speaker before a congressional hearing.

Pelosi voiced concern that China is “going in the opposite direction” on human rights.

“It’s important for the world to know, 30 years later, that we haven’t forgotten what happened then and that we know what is happening now and it will have an impact in our relationship with China,” she said.

Pelosi’s remarks come a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that China provide a full account of the Tiananmen crackdown and release political prisoners, saying that the United States had lost hope for improvements in China’s human rights record over the past 30 years.

His statement prompted an unusually angry reprimand from China, which denounced his “lunatic ravings and babbling nonsense.”

China went to great lengths to avoid commemorations of the anniversary, with authorities detaining activists and ramping up surveillance of the square itself, with livestreaming services suddenly down for “technical” reasons.

Pelosi, whose district includes San Francisco’s Chinatown, infuriated Beijing on a visit as a rank-and-file lawmaker in 1991 when she unfurled a pro-democracy banner in Tiananmen Square to honor the victims.


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