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Speaker Pelosi vows to work until freedom prevails in China and Tibet

June 9, 2009

TibetNet

 

Saturday, 6 June 2009

 

 

 

Dharamshala: Marking the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre
on Thursday (4 June), US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined fellow members of
the US Congress and human rights activists to express their commitment to
work until freedom and openness prevails in China and in Tibet.

 

 

 

China's right activist Yang Jianli and the Initiatives for China organised
the gathering at the US Capitol Hill.

 

 

 

"Words fail me to adequately tell you what an honor it is to be on the same
stage and in the presence of so many of the heroes of June 4 - to have a
message at the same time from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in solidarity for
more openness in China and Tibet.

 

 

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's statement in Chinese and English languages
were read out on the occasion.

 

 

 

Addressing the gathering, Speaker Pelosi said: "We stand here in front of
the Capitol of the United States, a beacon of freedom to the world, with a
great history of free speech and open discussion.

 

 

 

"On this side of the Capitol, here on these grounds, we stand with people
who took to heart and to mind, the words of our Founders. In our Declaration
of Independence, in our Constitution, our words talked about every person
being equal and 'endowed by their creator.'' 'Endowed by their creator,' not
by the state, but 'endowed by their creator' of certain rights like liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. And it was for life and liberty - and some
people paid that price in Tiananmen Square. They paid with their lives and
their liberty to speak out for freedom.

 

 

 

"It's interesting to me that this week there are also observances in Eastern
Europe about freedom emerging there at this time 20 years ago. And for those
of you who are old enough to remember Tiananmen Square, you would have seen
that the students gathered in the square in May in the days leading up to
June 4th were an inspiration to the world, to the entire world. They
inspired others to have the courage and they had a drumbeat of liberty and
freedom that was felt around the world.

 

 

 

"What they wanted was dialogue with their government on openness and freedom
and freedom of speech and religion and ending the corruption in China. They
wanted that dialogue, they wanted that conversation - what they got was
crushed. Crushed. Some of those people crushed in the square and other
streets of Beijing. But they could not crush the spirit of Tiananmen.

 

 

 

"And that's why it's important these 20 years later - I remember meeting
Chai Ling in Paris. She was newly escaped from China - we are so proud of
her, she is so courageous, and so many others, so many other heroes of that
movement. Many of them, when they got out of China, signed my man before the
tank poster in my office, which is getting old now, but I'm very proud of
the signatures that are on there. They are the signatures to a declaration
of freedom in China and what this freedom means is openness, freedom of
speech, freedom of religion, accountability, rule of law according to the
Chinese Constitution.

 

 

 

"So what is important for us to do now? Who would have ever thought all of
you here who are gathered with great leaders for democracy?  Who would have
ever thought that 20 years later, we would still be in this situation? That
the same cowardice that inspired - I don't know if inspired is the word -
that insisted that the regime crush the people in the square - to clear that
square at such and such a time. The same cowardice that did that - that same
fear of the people exists in China today.

 

 

 

"We were told 20 years ago that peaceful evolution and economic reform would
lead to political reform. Indeed, the economic reform has occurred. And I
was so pleased that Secretary Clinton said in a statement that China has
made enormous progress economically. I saw that last week in China. But she
also said that a China that had made all that progress should examine openly
the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those
killed at Tiananmen Square - both to learn and to heal. We need to do that
as we go forward.

 

 

 

"I have said over and over again: if we do not support human rights in China
and in Tibet, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights any
place in the world. So here we are in front of the Capitol, a building
symbolic of the core values of our American independence and our

 

Constitution, in solidarity with those who, using our words, modeling the
Goddess of Democracy after the Statue of Liberty, having those aspirations -
people carrying those aspirations crushed in Tiananmen Square.

 

 

 

"Twenty years later, the spirit is still alive. In Hong Kong in the
observance of Tiananmen Square, over 150,000 people turned out last night.
150,000 people - the biggest crowd since the one-year anniversary of
Tiananmen Square. So I know that the long arm of the Chinese government

 

will be reaching out to the media all over the world to suppress reporting
on what's happened in China, and also restricting communication from China
through the Internet and the rest, but the fact is that here we are at the
Capitol, there they were in Hong Kong, a drumbeat of activity across the
world, an echo of the voices of the heroes of Tiananmen. We will never
forget. We want a record of what happened, and we will continue to work for
more openness and improvements in human rights in China and Tibet.



 

 

 

 

"Thank you for your courage to turn out here today, to stand in front of the
Capitol, to hold us accountable to our own values, and to continue to work
together to remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre, to get a public
accounting of it.

 

 

 

"So our work is large. It's work that many of us have been involved in for
20 years. In 1991, I stood in the square and unfurled a banner remembering
those who sacrificed so much in Tiananmen Square. I wear white today to
signal to the families a sympathy for what they have lost. I did that in
1991 as a Member of Congress, an individual Member, to express my views and
the views of my constituents. It was a bipartisan group of us on the square
that day, Democrats and Republicans.

 

 

 

"Eighteen years later as Speaker of the House, I had the opportunity to sit
across from the President of China, the Premier of China, the Chairman of
the People's Congress, and to express to them the bipartisan concern in the
Congress of the United States about China's human rights record both in
China and in Tibet.

 

 

 

"Whatever our roles in whatever stage of our involvement, we have to use
everything at our disposal so that they know that we have not forgotten, and
that we will not rest until there is freedom of speech and expression and
assembly and openness in China and in Tibet.”
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