24 years ago today, the Tiananmen Square Protests in China
As President Obama prepares to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has been urging a hard line on key national concerns, including Chinese cyber espionage and hacking of advanced U.S. weapons systems. AAM President Scott Paul has stated that President Obama must "stand up to China’s bullying and outright belligerent behavior” when it comes to cyber intrusions and such predatory trade practices as currency manipulation, forced technology transfer, and subsidies.
But AAM has also been a frequent critic of China's human rights abuses. In a letter to President Obama, Paul said:
"China must begin to play by the rules it agreed to when it joined the World Trade Organization; it must implement and adhere to the rule of law with regard to commercial activities, cyberspace, and human rights; and, it must become a responsible stakeholder in the world community."
Human rights should certainly be raised during the Obama-Xi meetings, and it's helpful to remember that the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 took place 24 years ago today.
On June 4, 1989, students led a series of popular demonstrations in Beijing that received broad support from city residents, exposing deep splits within China's political leadership.
The protests were forcibly suppressed by hardline leaders who ordered the military to enforce martial law in the country's capital. The ensuing crackdown became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre as troops with assault rifles and tanks inflicted thousands of casualties on unarmed civilians.
The Chinese government condemned the protests as a "counterrevolutionary riot", and has prohibited all forms of discussion or remembrance of the events within China. According to Wikipedia, "estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to the thousands."
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