Clinton calls on China to release Tiananmen prisoners

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Chinese police turned out in force yesterday to smother any commemoration of the crackdown in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago, but thousands lit candles in Hong Kong in memory of the victims.

The anniversary sparked a fresh row between the US and China over the fate of the victims the Chinese authorities would prefer to forget.

The diplomatic spat broke out when Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, urged Beijing to name the victims of the massacre and release all those still imprisoned in connection with the student-led demonstrations. She called for a dialogue with the victims’ families and an end to harassment of those who took part.

China responded angrily, denouncing Mrs Clinton for crude meddling. Qin Gang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: “The US remarks, which disregard the facts, make groundless accusations against the Chinese Government. We express strong dissatisfaction [about] that. We urge the US to put aside its political prejudices and correct its mistakes so as to refrain from undermining bilateral relations.”

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