The visit of the President of the US House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosia Taiwan amid warnings from the Chinese government and unrest from the White House is just the latest in a long history of confrontations between the Democratic leader and the government in Beijing.

“It’s a provocative visit in part because it’s Nancy Pelosi doing the visit,” says Celia Hatton.

First, because of the position she holds: as the leader of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is the second in line of succession to the presidency. In other words, it would be Pelosi who would take over as chief executive in the event that both the president and Joe Bidenas the vice president Kamala Harris.

This makes Pelosi the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in the last 25 years.

And secondly, because of the history of incidents in which Pelosi frontally criticized the Chinese Communist Party government for alleged human rights abuses.

Most experts agree that the confrontation with China began in 1991, just two years after the Chinese government had put a violent end to the massive protests in Tiananmen Square.

Pelosi, who at the time was a congresswoman from California’s 5th district, visited the plaza and unveiled a banner honoring those who died during the protests.

In Singapore Melissa Zhu assures that after that incident, the Chinese government has accused her of spreading “lies and disinformation”.

“Nancy Pelosi has spoken on the issue of human rights in China since 1991 when she unveiled the banner in Tiananmen Square,” said Celia Hatton, the Asia Pacific editor for the GLM world service.

“That angered China then and continues to anger China now, to the point that Nancy Pelosi’s nickname in Chinese is ‘the old hag’,” he added.

The “Tiananmen Massacre”

On the night of June 3 to 4, 1989, the Chinese Army was ordered to disperse the protests that had been going on for almost seven weeks in Tiananmen Square, in Beijing.

Such was the crackdown on the movement demanding greater freedoms and an end to corruption that the incident became known as the “Tiananmen massacre.”

There are no clear figures on how many people lost their lives during the Tiananmen protests in 1989.

There are no clear figures on how many people lost their lives during the Tiananmen protests in 1989.

The forcefulness with which the Chinese authorities decided to put an end to the protest earned them harsh, almost global condemnation. Including that of a congresswoman from the state of California, in the USA.

Pelosi had traveled to Beijing as part of a congressional committee, but with three colleagues she evaded her companions and unfurled a small, hand-painted banner that read: “For those who died for democracy in China.”

“The police quickly surrounded them, grappled with reporters covering the event, and kicked the lawmakers out of the square,” Zhu said.

At the time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced the incident as a “premeditated farce”.

The move generated criticism of the legislator.

Mike Chinoy, one of the reporters who covered the incident, said he did not know what Pelosi was going to do, but was still jailed for several hours.


“It was my first experience with Pelosi’s penchant for making high-profile gestures designed to anger communist leaders, regardless of the consequences,” the journalist told Foreign Policy magazine.

Political prisoners

Pelosi has also made several attempts to secure the release of activists in China and Tibet.

In 2002, the current House leader tried to deliver four letters directly to then Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao requesting the release of the activists.

Hu decided not to receive the letters.

According to some reports, seven years later, Pelosi personally delivered a letter to Hu Jintao, when the official had already assumed the presidency of the country, calling for the release of activists, including the renowned dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize but was not allowed to travel to Norway to receive the honor. He passed away from cancer in 2017, still in Chinese custody.

The Olympic Games

Almost since 1993, the Democratic leader in the House has opposed China’s attempts to host the Olympic Games, arguing human rights violations by the country’s authorities.

In 2008, Pelosi unsuccessfully petitioned the then US president. George W. Bush to boycott the opening of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In the same way, this year, Pelosi led calls for a “diplomatic boycott” of the Winter Games that were also held in Beijing due to China’s alleged repression of the Muslim minority of the Uyghurs.

At that time, the leader assured: “To the leaders who go to China in light of the genocide that continues, even while you are sitting there in your seats, the question must be asked: what moral authority do you have to speak of human rights? humans anywhere in the world?

Similarly, through the years, Pelosi has attempted to link China’s trade status to its human rights record, while attempting to condition China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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