Tiananmen Square Anniversary: Trump Administration Is 'Becoming the Top Hijacker of Chinese Human Rights,' Says State Media

A Chinese state-backed newspaper has accused the U.S. of hypocrisy over its commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, suggesting President Donald Trump's policies are undermining the human rights of Chinese people.

In an editorial published on Wednesday, Global Times dismissed a statement issued Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which honored those who took part in the 1989 student-led protests across China. Hundreds—possibly thousands—of protesters were killed when the demonstrations were suppressed by the army.

"The U.S. has no credibility to hold the moral high ground," the editorial claimed. "Its accusations are nothing but empty talk from a high-pitched speaker. Pompeo's statements will not be echoed in Chinese society. Instead, they will reaffirm the Chinese public's belief that the Trump administration is hostile to China, and a friendly U.S. government to China is probably just pie in the sky."

Pompeo had called on the Chinese government to provide full details of those killed in the crackdown—referred to by Global Times as "resolute measures to maintain national stability"—and those subsequently arrested, some of whom remain behind bars to this day.

But Global Times—which often presents the more bellicose strain of thought from within the ruling Communist Party—suggested Pompeo's human rights advocacy was merely part of America's strategy to defeat China in the ever-expanding trade war between the two mammoth economies.

"The U.S. has stepped up its attacks on China on human rights issues simply because Washington's trade war with China is proving to be invalid," the newspaper argued.

The article suggested that any U.S. promotion of human rights is inherently hypocritical given the effects of the trade war, which Global Times said is designed to "deprive China of its continued development and gains for its own benefit."

The editorial condemned the "zero-sum" mentality of American leaders and suggested Trump's administration is "becoming the top hijacker of Chinese human rights." It continued, "The destruction of China's stability and development is the ultimate deprivation of the rights of Chinese."

"The Trump administration always threatens to 'replace the labor force in China with that in the U.S.,' or in Southeast Asia," the article continued. "They celebrate every sign that could be interpreted as economic downturn in China. Is that sincere compassion for Chinese human rights?

"The trade war launched by the US put the welfare of Chinese people at risk. Meanwhile, the same group of U.S. politicians put on another face and made accusations about China's human rights, as if they really care about individual rights of Chinese people," the editorial said.

The Chinese government has already criticized Pompeo for his statement marking the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, all evidence and mention of which is heavily censored in modern China. Those who discuss the event can be punished and even imprisoned by the totalitarian government, which is keen to avoid any repeat of the mass pro-democracy and pro-freedom movement.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., said the secretary of state's message "grossly intervenes" in domestic Chinese affairs and characterized Pompeo's comments as "an affront to the Chinese people and a serious violation of international law."

Tiananmen Square, anniversary, protest, state media, rights
Filipinos take part in a protest and candlelight vigil outside the Chinese embassy to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 2019 in Makati, Philippines. Getty/Ezra Acayan