The Chinese military was brought into Tiananmen Square in Beijing to remove pro-democracy protesters on June 4, 1989. The count of deaths and injuries, and of those who were jailed, detained, or executed has been a point of disagreement in the years since.
Chinese authorities have maintained 23 students and 300 soldiers died in the assault. An advocacy group, Tiananmen Mothers, have identified 202 victims. Meanwhile, a study in 2005, published in the Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs, said a count of 3,000 deaths was likely.
"The United States will always speak out in support of the basic freedoms the protestors at Tiananmen Square sought, including the freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, and the freedoms of association and assembly. These freedoms -- which are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the Chinese Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- are values the United States champions around the world," the White House statement said.
China has deliberately downplayed any memorial or acknowledgement of the anniversary, although tens of thousands participated in a memorial vigil in Hong Kong Wednesday.