U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) sent a bipartisan letter with nearly half of their Senate colleagues to the Chinese ambassador to the United States warning the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime of the consequences of a violent crackdown on peaceful protesters. 

Demonstrations have erupted across China in response to the CCP’s severe measures restricting freedoms to contain rising COVID-19 infections.

“The Chinese people are demonstrating great courage in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian rule. President Xi should back away from his absurd COVID-zero policy instead of cracking down on innocent people who only want freedom,” said Senator Young. “Our bipartisan letter to the Chinese ambassador sends a strong message to the CCP’s authoritarian regime that the United States will not turn their backs on the Chinese people as they seek basic civil liberty.”

“There are historic and heroic protests by the Chinese people pushing back on Xi Jinping’s dictatorial rule and calling for more freedom. Unfortunately, the response of most world leaders has been tepid at best,” said Senator Sullivan. “The United States Senate has a long and distinguished bipartisan history of speaking up for the Chinese people when they are threatened with communist brutality—and for Taiwan. This bipartisan letter continues this important Senate tradition of standing up for courageous, peaceful protesters who are risking their lives simply because they want more freedom.”

“The historic protests in China are showing the Chinese Communist Party just how courageous the people of China are,” said Senator Merkley. “The freedom of expression and of assembly are fundamental rights protected under international law, and like all other countries, China has an obligation to respect these universal rights. The protestors in China are sending a very important message, and the Chinese authorities need to listen to the people, not suppress their voice, their courage, or their pursuit for more freedom.”

In addition to Senators Young, Sullivan, and Merkley, the letter was signed by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) John Thune (R-S.D.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Kennedy (R-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

Below is the full text of the letter.

Ambassador Qin Gang 

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China 

3505 International Place NW 

Washington, D.C. 20008-3025 

Dear Ambassador Qin: 

We are following the current peaceful protests in China over your government’s policies very carefully. We are also closely watching the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) reaction to them.

In 1989, the Chinese Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army undertook a violent crackdown on peacefully protesting Chinese students, killing hundreds, if not thousands.

We caution the CCP in the strongest possible terms not to once again undertake a violent crackdown on peaceful Chinese protesters who simply want more freedom. If that happens, we believe there will be grave consequences for the US-China relationship, causing extraordinary damage to it.