JUNE 5, 1989
During the past few days, elements of the Chinese Army have been brutally suppressing popular and peaceful demonstrations in China. There has been widespread and continuing violence, many casualties, and many deaths. We deplore the decision to use force, and I now call on the Chinese leadership pub- liely, as I have in private channels, to avoid violence and to return to their previous policy of restraint.
The demonstrators in Tiananmen Square were advocating basic human rights, including the freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of association. These are goals we support around the world. These are freedoms that are enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution and the Chinese Constitution. Throughout the world, we stand with those who seek greater freedom and democracy. This is the strongly felt view of my Administration, o our Congress, and, most important, of the American people.
In recent weeks we've urged mutual restraint, nonviolence, and dialogue. Instead, there has been a violent and bloody attack on the demonstrators. The United States cannot condone the violent attacks and cannot ignore the consequences for our relationship with China, which has been built on a foundation of broad support by the American people. This is not the time for an emotional response but for a reasoned, careful action that takes into account both our long-term interests and recognition of a complex internal situation in China.
There clearly is turmoil within the ranks of the political leadership, as well as the People',,; Liberation Army. Now is the time to look beyond the moment to important and encluring aspects of this vital relationship for the United States. Indeed, the budding of democracy which we have seen in recent weeks owes much to the relationship we have developed since 1972. It's important at this time to act in a way that will encourage the further development and deepening of the positive elements of that relationship and the
process of democratization. It would be a tragedy for all if China were to pull back to its pre-1972 era of isolation and repression.
Mindful of these complexities, and yet of the necessity to strongly and clearly express our condemnation of the events of recent days, I am ordering the following actions: Suspension of all government-to-government sales and commercial exports of weapons, suspension of visits between U.S. and Chinese military leaders, sympathetic review of requests by Chinese students in the United States to extend their stay, and the offer of humanitarian and medical assistance through the Red Cross to those injured during the assault, and review of other aspects of our bilateral relationship as events in China continue to unfold.
The process of democratization of communist societies will not be a smooth one, and we must react to setbacks in a way which stimulates rather than stifles progress toward open and representative systems.
Q. You have said the genie of democracy cannot be put back in the bottle in China. You said that, however, before the actions of the past weekend. Do you still believe that? And are there further steps that the United States could take, such as economic sanctions, to further democracy in China?
A. Yes, I still believe that. I believe the forces of democracy are so powerful, and when you see them as recently as this morning-a single student standing in front of a tank, and then, I might add, seeing the tank driver exercise restraint-I am convinced that the forces of democracy are going to overcome these unfortunate events in Tiananmen Square.
On the commercial side, I don't want to hurt the Chinese people. I happen to believe that the commercial contacts have led, in essence, to this quest for more freedom. I think as people have commercial incentive, whether it's in China or in other totalitarian systems, the move to democracy becomes more inexorable. So what we've done is suspended certain things on the military side, and m), concern is with those in the military who are using force. And yet when I see some exercising restraint and see the big divisions that
exist inside the PLA [People',,, Liberation Army], I think we need to move along the lines I've outlined here. I think that it's important to keep saying to those elements in the Chinese military, "Restraint: Continue to show the restraint that many of you have shown." I understand there are deep divisions inside the army. So this is, we're putting the emphasis on that side of it.
Q. Have you had any personal contact with the Chinese leadership? Why do you think they moved in the way they did? And why did you wait so long?
A. I don't think we've waited so long. I made very clear, in a personal communication to Deng Xiaoping [Chairman of China's Central Military Commission], my views on this. I talked to tbe [U.S.] Ambassador last night, Jim Lilley. He's been in touch constantly with the Chinese officials, and so, …