US urges China to account for Tiananmen crackdown
WASHINGTON: The United States marked the 27th anniversary of China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square on Friday with a call for Beijing to end human rights abuses.
Just days before the start of the annual US-China strategic dialogue, the State Department urged China to allow peaceful commemorations of the incident.
“The United States government continues to call for a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing,” spokesperson Mark Toner said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be in China next week for high-level talks on relations between the world’s two biggest economic powers.
But US officials say relations between the countries are now on a strong enough footing to allow Washington to speak out about its concerns without triggering a crisis.
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Toner said China has seen many changes in the quarter-century since June 4, 1989, when the government “violently suppressed peaceful protests” in the heart of Beijing.
But, the US spokesperosn added, Washington continues “to have serious concerns with ongoing violations of human rights in China.”
He cited the detention of human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and civil society leaders.
And he condemned “increased restrictions on media content, expression, association, and religious practice.”
“We urge the Chinese government to respect the universal rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” he concluded.