White House urges China to account for Tiananmen victims

WARSAW Wed Jun 4, 2014 4:24am EDT

Paramilitary policemen patrol along Chang'an Avenue near Tiananmen Square in Beijing June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

Paramilitary policemen patrol along Chang'an Avenue near Tiananmen Square in Beijing June 4, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

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WARSAW (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday urged China to account for those who were killed, detained or went missing in connection with the crackdown around Tiananmen Square 25 years ago and said it honored the memories of those who gave their lives in that protest.

"The United States will always speak out in support of the basic freedoms the protesters at Tiananmen Square sought, including the freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, and the freedoms of association and assembly," the White House said in a statement.

"These freedoms - which are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the Chinese Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - are values the United States champions around the world."

The statement said the American people applauded "China's extraordinary social and economic progress over the past three decades" and valued good relations with the Chinese people and government.

"Even as we continue our cooperation on areas of common interest, the United States will continue to be clear about our differences, and urge the Chinese government to guarantee the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all Chinese citizens," it said.

President Barack Obama is currently in Poland as part of a four-day European trip.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Dean Yates)

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