China accuses U.S. of "prejudice" over 1989 protest comments

BEIJING (Reuters) - China accused the United States of "prejudice" on Saturday after the U.S. State Department renewed a call for Beijing to fully account for its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in June 1989.

The United States should "immediately rectify its wrongdoings and stop interfering in China's internal affairs so as not to sabotage China-U.S. relations", Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an English-language statement released via the official Xinhua news agency.

China has already reached a "clear conclusion" about the events of 1989, Hong said.

The U.S. State Department, in a statement released on its website, said China should "end harassment of those who participated in the protests and fully account for those killed, detained, or missing."

After initially tolerating the student-led demonstrations in the spring of 1989 centred on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Communist Party sent troops to crush the protests on the night of June 3-4, killing hundreds, according to rights groups.

China labelled the protests as "counter-revolutionary".

The topic remains taboo in China and the leadership has rejected all calls to overturn its verdict.

Human rights remains a thorny topic between China and the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama are due to meet in California next week for an informal summit where the issue of human rights could be raised.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Mike Collett-White)


Updated Date: Jun 02, 2013 01:30 AM

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