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The U.S. Navy sails near China to remember Tiananmen Square, China says “What about George Floyd?”

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The USS Russell, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, sailed through the Straits of Taiwan, says a spokesperson with the U.S. 7th fleet, as a part of Freedom of the Seas operations on June 4. The transit coincided with the 31st anniversary of the violent quelling of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 in Beijing by the Communist Party in China.

“Russell conducted a Taiwan Strait transit June 4 to 5 (local time) in accordance with international law. The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a U.S. 7th Fleet spokesperson, told USNI News in an email.  

Freedom of the Seas operations are operations where the U.S. Navy sails in waters that are free under international law but claimed by another country in defiance of international law. The operations are meant to remind the claimant that they can’t close those waters to other countries operating lawfully.

Under Trump, Freedom of the Seas operations in the South China Sea has accelerated, as the U.S. seeks to counter China by supporting a coalition that includes Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and India.

China denounced the move saying the U.S.  is trying to “shift … domestic pressures by instigating a provocation with China.”

“The move is not only preparing the U.S. military for a potential conflict in the region and an attempt to provoke the Chinese mainland,” said the Communist China mouth-piece Global Times, “but also an attempt to shift domestic pressure from widespread protests, COVID-19 and a poor economy.”

China has recently and aggressively compared its own record at Tiananmen Square with the George Floyd protests taking place across America this week.  An official Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, on the eve of the Tiananmen anniversary, said: “Black lives matter and their human rights should be guaranteed.”

In April, China was criticized for evicting numbers of Africans, including African Americans, from homes and businesses after the state media reported that 111 Africans tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the southern city of Guangzhou, according to NBCNews.

The Tiananmen Square massacre was the result of a protest movement that was bloodily put down by Communist authorities in 1989. Estimates of the number of killed vary from 1,000 to 10,000. China will only admit that nearly 250 people died in the government action.

In 2017, a diplomatic cable released from then-U.K. ambassador to China, Sir Alan Donald, said that 10,000 protestors died when the Communist People’s Liberation Army attacked.  

“Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. APCs then ran over bodies time and time again to make ‘pie’ and remains collected by bulldozer. Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.

“Four wounded girl students begged for their lives but were bayoneted,” reads the cable.

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