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US congressional leaders remember China crackdown

May 29, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. congressional leaders on Thursday commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown with a message for China’s leaders: They can’t hide the truth.

House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi set aside their partisan differences Thursday, appearing alongside Chinese dissidents on Capitol Hill.

The House on Wednesday passed a resolution marking China’s June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that killed hundreds. The resolution called for the U.S. to make human rights, democracy and Internet freedom higher priorities in relations with China.

Inside China, authorities of the one-party state are going to extraordinary lengths to stifle activities marking the Tiananmen anniversary. Many dissidents have said they’ve been kept under house arrest months ahead of the date and have been warned against talking to the media.

Boehner said the House was remembering Tiananmen “so we can keep alive the hunger for democracy, the hunger for the truth.”

Pelosi said while many Chinese don’t know what happened in the military crackdown, they know about government corruption and unfair application of the law.

“The spirit of Tiananmen is alive and well. China’s leaders know it, and they fear it every day,” Pelosi said.

The House leaders, who rarely agree on domestic issues, have teamed up before to show solidarity with prominent critics of Beijing. In March, they welcomed Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Update hourly