Statement by Matteo Mecacci, president of the International Campaign for Tibet:

“On behalf of the International Campaign for Tibet, I express solidarity with the Chinese people on the 31st anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square. We mourn those who died that day and remember the suffering of those injured, arrested and tortured, as well as their families.

“The events of June 4, 1989 remind us that the march of history toward freedom and justice can take long and dark detours. The civil liberties of the Chinese people are arguably worse off today than in 1989, given the technological tools of repression vigorously employed by the Chinese party-state. But we firmly believe that freedom and justice will prevail for the 1.4 billion people, of many nationalities, within the People’s Republic of China.

“Today, we see the Chinese government’s assault on human rights and civil liberties pervade Chinese society more than ever and at all levels, with the goal of extending it beyond China’s borders. From the silencing of all critics of Chinese President Xi Jinping, to the mass incarceration of Uyghurs for “re-education,” to the stifling of now seriously endangered free voices and institutions in Hong Kong, to the criminalization of almost any form of expression of identity by Tibetans who live under constant surveillance, Beijing is setting an unprecedented standard for repression in the 21st Century. On top of that, it is extending its reach by threatening foreign companies and officials who question its authoritarian system. China’s rise in the world is clearly not peaceful, and the promotion of its dictatorial system won’t stop unless it is seriously questioned and opposed.

“Change in China and Tibet will ultimately come from within. Despite official efforts to repress it, the yearning for democratic rights of citizens in the PRC is no less today than it was in 1989. Democratization remains the essential pathway to a free China and a free Tibet. The world’s democracies should reinvigorate efforts to help all the people in the PRC exercise their fundamental democratic freedoms.”

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