The Biden administration faced criticism Sunday over the sending of two senior officials to China on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The Tiananmen Square massacre refers to the Chinese government’s violent June 4, 1989 suppression and murder of hundreds of pro-democracy protestors. The Chinese government has been accused of trying to erase the legacy of the massacre. On the Sunday anniversary, China allegedly restricted access to Tiananmen Square, according to NPR.
The Biden administration sent two officials to Beijing, Daniel Kritenbrink and Sarah Beran. Kritenbrink serves as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Beran serves as the National Security Council’s senior director for China and Taiwan affairs. (RELATED: Microsoft Blocks Images Of Tiananmen Square Protests On Massacre Anniversary)
During the trip the duo “will discuss key issues in the bilateral relationship,” the press release says.
China and the United States have faced tensions over American support for Taiwan. The United States also shot down a Chinese spy balloon in February, which resulted in the cancelling of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s scheduled trip to China.
The decision to send the officials to China during the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre drew sharp criticism.
Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa, who serves as a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, accused the Biden administration of making an extraordinary mistake and gifting a “coup” to Xi Jinping.
“This is no ordinary foreign policy stumble,” Issa said, “It’s a concession demanded by the Chinese and granted by a White House and State Department willing to bend. It’s a major coup for Xi, and America’s position in the world just got weaker – where it matters most.”
Issa also criticized the trip on Twitter.
“Is the Biden Administration sending senior officials to China as we remember the anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square?” Issa tweeted.
Is the Biden Administration sending senior officials to China as we remember the anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square? https://t.co/5IGUcj2cAO
— Rep. Darrell Issa (@repdarrellissa) June 3, 2023
Republican Wisconsin Rep. Derrick Van Orden responded to the trip by calling the Biden Administration a “clown show.”
“34 years after the Chinese Communist Party brutally crushed Democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, the Biden administration sends senior diplomats to appease the CCP. Absolute Clown Show in Biden’s White House,” Van Orden tweeted.
Michael Sobolik, senior fellow of American Foreign Policy Council, responded to the news in disbelief.
“Wait … senior Biden admin officials are visiting China on June 4th — the anniversary of Tiananmen Square? Is this a joke?” Sobolik tweeted.