China slams US over Tiananmen anniversary statement

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On top of that, blind human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng added to the drama by seeking refuge at the U.S. embassy last month, kicking off a days-long crisis between the United States and China while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were visiting the country.

This year's State Department message, issued on the eve of the anniversary, was little changed from past years.

“We renew our call for China to protect the universal human rights of all its citizens; release those who have been wrongfully detained, prosecuted, incarcerated, forcibly disappeared, or placed under house arrest; and end the ongoing harassment of human rights activists and their families,” said department spokesman Mark Toner.

Now studying law in New York, Chen also weighed in with a message to protesters commemorating the anniversary in Hong Kong.

"This Democracy Movement deserves universal approval," he said. "We ask that its requests be treated appropriately. We do not desire revenge but we want to completely reveal the truth. We are in favor of tolerance, but against forgetfulness. People who are forgetful have no future."

The full U.S. statement is below: 

Message on the Twenty-Third Anniversary of Tiananmen Square

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC
June 3, 2012

On this the twenty-third anniversary of the violent suppression by Chinese authorities of the spring 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, the United States joins the international community in remembering the tragic loss of innocent lives.

We encourage the Chinese government to release all those still serving sentences for their participation in the demonstrations; to provide a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing; and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families.

We renew our call for China to protect the universal human rights of all its citizens; release those who have been wrongfully detained, prosecuted, incarcerated, forcibly disappeared, or placed under house arrest; and end the ongoing harassment of human rights activists and their families.