President Donald Trump tweeted congratulations to his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday morning, recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party government in China. But several members of Trump's own Republican Party were not in the same mood of congratulation.
"Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China," wrote Trump.
October 1 is China National Day, the state holiday marking the establishment of the People's Republic of China, but protests exploded Tuesday in Hong Kong, overshadowing the holiday. At least 180 protesters were arrested and a pro-democracy protester was shot in the chest.
Some Republican lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, issued dissenting statements about Trump's commemoration, although they did not mention Trump.
"On the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, we should pause to recognize the many millions of lives lost under Chinese communist rule," McConnell said in a statement.
"I especially condemn the continued use of violence against democratic activists in Hong Kong. It is dismal that, on the 70th anniversary of the PRC, its agents are reduced to the use of force against protesters in Hong Kong seeking to preserve basic personal freedoms. The CCP has always crushed dissent with force, "McConnell wrote.
Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region of China, having been promised "a high degree of autonomy" after the handover of British rule in 1997. Protesters have taken to the streets in recent months for fear that civil liberties and political freedoms of citizens were fulfilled. being eroded by the Communist Party of China.
Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2019
Texas Senator Ted Cruz criticized the killing of a protester as "an unacceptable escalation in the Chinese Communist Party's attack on the people of Hong Kong and its peaceful protests against tyranny."
Liz Cheney, chairman of the Republican Conference of the House of Representatives, issued a joint statement with Rep. Mike Gallagher, Republican, denouncing the Communist Party.
"This is not a day of celebration. It is an opportunity to remember the victims, past and present, of the Chinese Communist Party," they wrote, adding that "we are dedicated to ensuring that the Chinese Communist Party remains the ash heap of history. "
Divergent statements highlight the differences between Trump and some Republicans on foreign policy in China.
Trump generally avoided criticizing the Chinese government for dealing with protests in Hong Kong. Last month, he called the situation in Hong Kong "difficult" and "complicated". Congressional Republicans, on the other hand, called for action in support of the protesters.
Speaking at the United Nations in late April, Trump briefly praised the protesters and said, "We are also carefully monitoring the situation in Hong Kong."
"The world fully expects the Chinese government to honor its binding United Nations-registered treaty with the British, in which China is committed to protecting Hong Kong's freedom, legal system and democratic ways of life," said Trump. .
Contribution: John Bacon.
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