House presses Chinese government on human rights

The House on Wednesday passed a resolution to pressure the Chinese government to promote human rights and stop censoring discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. 

Passed 379-1, the measure comes less than a week before the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

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Members of both parties said the measure would provide support to people suppressed by the Chinese government.

"Tiananmen Square has come to symbolize the brutal lengths China's communist party will go to remain in power," said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the resolution's sponsor. 

"We will never forget Tiananmen Square. Ever," Smith said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recalled her shock when learning of the massacre in 1989.

"It was almost unbelievable to see the government of China turning on its own people," Pelosi said.

Pelosi said that although not all Chinese may know the details of the Tiananmen Square massacre, it nonetheless symbolized the Chinese government's shortcomings.

"Today the Chinese people may not know that truth about Tiananmen Square. Corruption, though, they do know is rampant in the Chinese government," Pelosi said.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) urged the Chinese government to stop censoring information about the 1989 massacre from its citizens.

"A quarter of a century later, why is the regime in Beijing so afraid of the truth?" Ros-Lehtinen said.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Pelosi, Smith and others are scheduled to hold a Tiananmen Square remembrance event in the Capitol on Thursday.