Pelosi: The Truth About The People’s Republic of China
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a testimony at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s hearing on the Beijing Olympics and the Faces of Repression on Thursday, February 3rd.
Pelosi was Friday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are her words:
“When the Olympic Winter (games) begin tomorrow in Beijing, the Chinese government once again will attempt to distract the world from a decades-long campaign of abuse and repression. But, the United States and the international community know the truth: the People’s Republic of China is perpetrating a campaign of gross human rights violations, including genocide. Over the next two weeks, it is our urgent moral duty to shine a bright light on the many human rights violations being perpetrated by the host nation. And, I say ‘by the host nation’ because I associate myself with the remarks of Mr. McGovern: this is not about Chinese people; it’s about the People’s Republic of China and the repressive government that has been in power.
While we fully support and will root for our athletes, we cannot and will not be silent on human rights in China.
I also am honored to be here with brave witnesses testifying today: Yaxue Cao, Jewher Ilham, Sophie Luo, Nyima Lhamo and Nathan Law – Nathan remotely, as I understand.
For decades, the PRC has orchestrated a campaign of terror and repression. From the genocide of the Uyghur people most recently, to aggression against the culture, religion and language of Tibet, to crackdowns against the basic freedoms in Hong Kong, to the jailing of journalists, activists and dissidents throughout mainland China, and intimidation of Taiwan and more. Yet, the Chinese government works desperately to cover up their abuses, rewriting history and projecting a very different image to the world – or tries to, anyway.
Many in Congress have fought to ensure that the world remembers the truth of the PRC human rights record and to hold them accountable, including by seeking to deny them the honor of hosting the Olympics. In 1993, Congress passed strongly bipartisan legislation calling on the IOC to reject China’s 2000 bid. And, we were successful then in doing so.
Many again opposed China’s 2008 bid. Sadly, the IOC chose to sell out on human rights in China. But, we cannot – we continued to speak out, including by urging President, President – urging President Bush, then, to boycott the Opening Ceremony.
Now, the IOC, aided by corporate sponsors, once again turns a blind eye with the 2022 Winter Olympics – just to bolster their bottom line, as Mr. McGovern mentioned. As was said, if we do not speak out against human rights violations in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out against human rights violations anywhere.
And, that is why, at a CECC hearing last May, I called for no official presence at the Beijing Olympics. Thanks to strong leadership of President Biden, the Administration has joined Congress in presenting a united front in this effort. And, proudly many nations have followed America’s lead, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
Make no mistake, our athletes should participate. They’ve trained. They’re disciplined. They’ve dreamed. They’ve aspired. They’ve worked hard. But this year, we must celebrate them from home, as they compete in China. I would say to our athletes, ‘You’re there to compete. Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government, because they are ruthless.’ I know there is a temptation on the part of some to speak out while they are there. I respect that. But, I also worry about what the Chinese government might do: to their reputations, to their families. So again, participate, let us celebrate from abroad and don’t risk thinking that there are any good intentions on the part of the Chinese – the People’s Republic of China government, because there are none.
While you’re competing, Congress continues to take bipartisan action to defend human rights in China and hold the Chinese government accountable. Most recently, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which was proudly signed into law in December, will harness America’s economic might to make clear: the genocide of Uyghurs must end now. And, now with our America COMPETES Act, which is on the Floor of the House, we will take another strong step to help those who fear for their futures, by designating Uyghurs as prioritized refugees of special humanitarian concern and pursuing a humanitarian pathway for Hong Kongers who feel political persecution.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman and Congresswoman: one of the most sinister forms of torture employed by authoritarian regimes, and certainly the PRC, is to tell the prisoners: ‘Nobody even remembers you. They don’t know why you’re in prison. So, why are you just insisting on the truth?’
We say that – with this hearing, we declare to all who are suffering in the PRC, under their abuses: ‘America sees you, America stands with you, America will continue to fight for you.’
That is why I’m so proud to join our witnesses today, to lift up the names of those who were in prison, such as democracy activists Jimmy Lai and Joshua Wong, Uyghur leader Ilham Tohti and the Panchen Lama, just to name a few. Now, we have a – as the Chairman roughly indicated, we have reems of names of prisoners who will not be forgotten. Many of them will be named by our witnesses today, in that spirit of remembering and saying to the PRC, ‘No matter what you do, we are – we will not forget, we will not go away.’
Much of our activism when this started – Tiananmen Square – when we saw you crush, crush the young lives and hopes and dreams of so many young people in China who were there to demonstrate for a better future. Crush them with your tanks. And, then try to erase from the history and the memory of people in China what happened that day. But, we will persist.
In that spirit, I’ll close by quoting Lee Cheuk Yan, a former legislator who has devoted his life to keeping alive the memories of those who died fighting for freedom in Tiananmen Square. A former chairman of the now defunct Hong Kong Alliance and supportive patriotic democratic movements of China, he is currently serving time in prison simply for standing up for democracy.
He said the following to the judge before he was sentenced this past fall, and I quote, ‘For 32 years we have marched together in the fight to bring justice to those who put their lives on the line June 4, 1989, and, in the struggle for democracy. Despite setbacks, we are steadfast in our belief that the universal values of freedom, the rule of law, human rights and democracy that we have been struggling for will one day take root in Hong Kong and China. And on that day, we will be able to count – console the souls who came before us.’
Thank you to the CECC for the opportunity to participate today. And, to elevate the voices of the Chinese government, that the government – that the Chinese – and to elevate the voices that the Chinese government has worked relentlessly to silence. We will not be silenced. We will not let those with courage be forgotten.
With that, I thank you again for the work of this Committee, not just this hearing today, but on the ongoing. And, especially at this timely – this time one day before the Olympics begin.
It’s hard to fathom how they could choose a country like China to host the Olympics, but they have, and we wish all of the athletes well. We wish them safety, and that safety includes – don’t for one moment believe anything the Chinese government might tell you about freedom of expression. You take a risk, be safe.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.