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WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today, commemorating the eighteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre:
"Eighteen years ago, the world stood witness as students, intellectuals and labor leaders in the People's Republic of China gathered in Tiananmen Square to demand the dignified treatment that is every person's birthright. Sadly, their peaceful calls for an end to oppression and injustice were met with violence and carnage.
"Today, I wish we could look back on those tragic events as a turning point that helped foster greater freedom, liberty and opportunity for the Chinese people. But the Chinese government's ongoing refusal to implement substantial human rights reforms - or even fully acknowledge the transgressions of the past - has forced the realization that fundamental human rights in China remain as distant as they were back in 1989.
"China has the potential to be a powerful ally in the pursuit of human rights in every corner of our planet. For example, if China had chosen to prioritize ending the genocide in Darfur ahead of its reliance on Sudanese oil, then there is no telling how many lives could have been saved in recent years.
"On this solemn occasion, I urge the Chinese government to join the global struggle for human rights for all peoples of all nations. And I pray that one day we can all look back at the courageous souls of Tiananmen Square as pioneers that laid the foundation for a more peaceful future."