Tiananmen Square, 34 Years Later

Tiananmen means “Gates of the Heavenly Peace,” but it was 34 years ago that those heavenly gates witnessed the wholesale slaughter of countless people by their own government.  
For the free world, 1989 is remembered as the “Year of Miracles” as the Berlin Wall fell and the facade of the Soviet Union began to crumble. In China, 1989 showed the brutal lengths the Chinese Communist Party was willing to go to preserve its grip on power. What was the crime these brave Chinese citizens committed? Demanding a free press, government accountability, and genuine representation. 
The CCP responded to the democratic movement by sending tanks into Tiananmen Square, crushing the peaceful protest. We still do not know the death toll. What is now known, however, is the true nature and brutality of the Chinese Communist Party. Today, 34 years later, we are still living in the aftermath of that fateful night. While the CCP censors any mention of its crimes on June 4 and oppresses its citizens who seek the truth, we will continue to speak for all its victims and commemorate this tragedy. 

Every year, VOC gathers at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C., to remember those brutally slaughtered in Tiananmen Square and the more than one billion still oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party, who continue to be subjected to human rights crimes and the brutal denial of their human dignity. 

Tragically, Beijing has expanded its oppression since 1989. As the world watches, the CCP is committing a genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Since 2017, the CCP has embarked on a campaign of mass internment that has swept up 1-2 million victims into re-education camps—the largest incarceration of an ethnoreligious minority since the Holocaust. 

In May of last year, VOC released the Xinjiang Police Files—a cache of tens of thousands of documents, analyzed by VOC’s Senior Fellow and Director of China Studies Dr. Adrian Zenz, which contained the first images the world had seen of the atrocities being committed inside the Xinjiang camps. 

Hong Kong, once a beacon and freedom and liberty—has been crushed by the Chinese Communist Party. Dozens of pro-democracy leaders like Jimmy Lai have been arrested, dissenters have been jailed, and elections have been manipulated and postponed.  

The CCP’s practice of organ harvesting also continues without condemnation. Forced organ harvesting is a gruesome human rights abuse that occurs around the globe but most acutely in Communist China, where for decades, tens of thousands of innocents have been killed on demand for their organs, in a lucrative trade thought to be worth over $1 billion per year. We commend the near-unanimous passage by the US House of Representatives this March of the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). 

The CCP also continues to use the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) criminal justice system as a political tool to target Chinese citizens who challenge the CCP’s authority. Brave individuals and human rights lawyers like Gao Zhisheng, Pastor Wang Yi, Pastor John Cao, and most recently legal scholar Xu Zhiyong and human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi have been falsely convicted by CCP courts, detained, and in the case of Gao Zhisheng, disappeared since 2017. As of October 10, 2019, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Political Prisoner Database lists a total of 9,975 cases of political or religious imprisonment in China. 

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will continue to call for justice and accountability for the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and stand with Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Tibetans, and all Chinese citizens oppressed under Chinese Communist Party rule. 

We must remember.