H.Res. 599, Urging the Government of the People’s Republic of China to respect the freedom of assembly, expression, religion and all fundamental human rights for all of its citizens and to stop censoring discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and their violent suppression

H.R. 599

Urging the Government of the People’s Republic of China to respect the freedom of assembly, expression, religion and all fundamental human rights for all of its citizens and to stop censoring discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and their violent suppression

Date
May 28, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, the House will consider H.Res. 599, Urging the Government of the People’s Republic of China to respect the freedom of assembly, expression, religion and all fundamental human rights for all of its citizens and to stop censoring discussion of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and their violent suppression, under suspension of the rules.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on May 23, 2014 and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 599 1) urges the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to stop censoring information about the Tiananmen Square massacre; 2) expresses sympathy for the families of those killed, tortured, and imprisoned because of their participation in the protests; 3) supports those who peacefully advocate for human rights and the rule of law in China; 4) condemns ongoing human rights abuses and persecution by the PRC; 5) calls on the Broadcasting Board of Governors to take appropriate steps to circumvent Chinese internet censorship and provide information about the Tiananmen Square Massacre; 6) calls on the U.S. to make human rights, including religious freedom, a priority in bilateral discussions with China; 7) calls on the PRC to end its continuing harassment of Chinese citizens expressing freedom of religion, release prisoners of conscience detained because of their participation in the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, end the harassment of those involved in the demonstrations and their families, and allow the return of protest participants who escaped China; 8) calls on the Administration and Congress to continue marking the events of Tiananmen Square; and 9) finds that U.S. relations with China are likely to further improve when the PRC recognizes and respects the individual human rights of its people.

Background

In June of 1989, hundreds and perhaps thousands of peaceful demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square were injured or killed by armed troops under orders from the Chinese Government.[1]  An estimated one million demonstrators had amassed in the square, along with citizens in more than 400 cities around China, to advocate for the elimination of corruption, accelerated economic and political reforms, and the protection of human rights.[2]  Soldiers fired into the crowds, killing and injuring many unarmed civilians, and tanks crushed protesters and onlookers.[3]  Twenty thousand more individuals throughout China were arrested and sentenced to prison without trial because they were suspected of taking part in the movement.[4]  Since that time, China’s government has censored information about the violence and has harassed and discriminated against members of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of relatives and friends of those killed in the protests.[5]  The group seeks the right to mourn publicly, and to obtain a full and public accounting of those wounded and killed in the demonstration.[6]  The PRC actively attempts to conceal the truth about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, both by censoring accurate information and by spreading misinformation.[7]  Beyond the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, the PRC continues to harass and detain peaceful human rights advocates, including over 1,300 prisoners of conscience.[8]  The PRC limits freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, and continues to receive poor rankings from nongovernmental organizations and U.S. agencies on civil liberties and religious freedom issues.[9]

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[1] H.Res. 599.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is not available at this time.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.