U.S. seeks ‘full accounting’ of Tiananmen massacre

China calls it hypocrisy, asks Washington to ‘put its own house in order’


The White House said on Thursday that China’s “slaughter” of protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 has not been forgotten, urging Beijing to give its first accurate accounting of the bloodshed.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s slaughter of unarmed Chinese civilians was a tragedy that will not be forgotten,” President Donald Trump’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “The United States calls on China to honour the memory of those who lost their lives and to provide a full accounting of those who were killed, detained, or remain missing in connection with the events surrounding the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989.” Beijing’s city government claimed weeks after the crackdown that around 200 people had died, the vast majority soldiers, with only 36 university students killed. China’s Central government has never released a full official toll, but estimates have put the figure between several hundred to over 1,000.

Open discussion of the brutal suppression is forbidden in mainland China. In Hong Kong, where Beijing is tightening its central rule, a mass vigil to mark the anniversary was banned, though tens of thousands of people defied the decision.

Every year, the U.S. issues a statement demanding China be held accountable. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with survivors, including Wang Dan, perhaps the most prominent of the student leaders from the protest.

China on Friday accused the U.S. of hypocrisy. “The U.S. has always bragged about so-called democracy and human rights, but the facts repeatedly show that the U.S. record in this area is full of stains,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing. He said Washington should “put its own house in order” and defended China’s political system.