BEIJING - China accused the United States of "political prejudice" and "ignoring facts" for calling on it to fully account for those killed, detained or missing in the 1989 bloody military crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that the U.S. was remembering the "tragic loss of innocent lives" ahead of the 24th anniversary on June 4 of the violent crushing of student-led pro-democracy protests.
In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China urges the U.S. "to discard political prejudice and correctly treat China's development," according to the Xinhua News Agency's English service late Saturday.
"A clear conclusion has already been made concerning the political turmoil that happened in the late 1980s," Xinhua said, citing Hong. The U.S. releases "similar statements year after year, ignoring facts and making groundless accusations against the Chinese government," which is a "rude interference in China's internal affairs," it said.
The Chinese government has never fully disclosed what happened when the military crushed the protests, which it branded a "counterrevolutionary riot." Hundreds, possibly more, were killed.
The topic remains taboo in China, and Hong's statement was not available on Xinhua's Chinese service or the Foreign Ministry's website.
"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," Psaki said in her statement.