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That Wasn't Suppression in Tiananmen Square, China Says

But US State Department calls 1989 violence a massacre
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2019 4:45 PM CDT
A man stands alone to block a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989.   (AP Photo/Jeff Widener, File)
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(Newser) – Hundreds or possibly thousands of people were killed 30 years ago next week when Chinese troops opened fire on demonstrations led by students in Tiananmen Square. China has never released a death toll. On Thursday, a Defense Ministry spokesman objected when asked if the military would mark the anniversary of the protest's suppression, Reuters reports. "First of all, a clarification. I don’t agree with you for using the word 'suppression,'" Wu Qian said. He added: "In the last 30 years, the course of China's reforms, development and stability, the successes we have achieved have already answered this question."

The US State Department disagreed during a news briefing Thursday, calling the Chinese government's response in 1989 "a full-on massacre." Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the US and other nations still want "a full public accounting for those killed, detained and missing," VOA News reports, as well as the release of demonstrators "jailed for striving to keep the memory of Tiananmen Square alive." The 30th anniversary will not be officially commemorated by the Chinese government or the Communist Party, per Reuters. (China threatened the US anew in the trade war.)

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