On the Anniversary of Tiananmen Protests, Trump Seeks to Emulate China’s Authoritarianism in America
On June 4, 1989, Chinese authorities unleashed the People’s Liberation Army to crush the peaceful protesters who had gathered in Tiananmen Square. The events of that day are etched into our collective memory, captured by the image of one lone man standing before a tank. His act of resistance lives on in the hearts and minds of those who continue to struggle for human rights in China and abroad.
The anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre is a stark reminder that we must always be on guard against authoritarian leaders and their apologists who violate human rights and fail to respect the rule of law. Yet President Trump has expressed admiration for Beijing’s crackdown when he said: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, and they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
That statement alone should have disqualified him from the Presidency.
This week, President Trump berated American governors as “weak” and urged them to “get much tougher” against American citizens protesting institutionalized racism and the killing of black people. He said “It’s a movement that if you don’t put it down, it’ll get worse and worse.” Trump is now calling for “total domination” and threatening to send the U.S. military into the cities and streets of America to “solve the problem.”
These are the words of an authoritarian. That is not who we are.
President Trump is severely weakening our moral authority to promote human rights and democracy around the world. The Chinese government is even using Trump’s recent threats to justify its own crackdown on the people of Hong Kong.
Freedom of assembly and expression are core human rights that must be respected in America, in China, and all over the world. We will continue to speak out and peacefully take to the streets to call for an end to systematic racism, police violence, gun violence, and the rights of people everywhere as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.