CECC: Chairman Smith and Cochairman Rubio Urge President Xi Jinping to Release Prisoners of Conscience and End Bans on Public Discussion of Tiananmen Massacre

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Congressional-Executive Commission on Chinawww.cecc.gov
Thursday, June 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests and their violent suppression, the Chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Representative Christopher Smith and Senator Marco Rubio, urged the Chinese government to lift censorship and allow public discussion and commemoration of the events of 1989 and to release all prisoners of conscience in China, including those detained last year for commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.

Writing to President Xi Jinping, the Chairs also expressed concern about the “persistent and intense” harassment of civil society and human rights defenders and the large numbers of individuals detained for peacefully exercising their right to the freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion.

The Chairs urged President Xi to release those unjustly detained prior to his planned U.S. visit in September saying the “continued detention of prisoners of conscience…is a barrier to closer cooperation and efforts to build mutual trust.” However, such a step, said the Chairs, would be an “important building block for a ‘new type’ of relationship between our two great nations.”

The letter to President Xi Jinping follows a Wednesday CECC hearing “China in 1989 & 2015: Tiananmen, Human Rights, and Democracy.” Statements by the Chairs and witnesses, along with an archived hearing webcast, can be found here.

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