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China rebukes US for demanding release of Tiananmen activists

Published on May 9, 2014 5:57 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China rebuked the United States on Friday for urging the release of activists detained after attending a meeting about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, saying Washington had no right to demand that criminals be freed.

Wednesday's call by the US State Department to release prominent rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and others drew a sharp riposte from China's foreign ministry, which regards US expressions of concern as unwarranted interference in its internal affairs. "I want to ask the US spokesperson, what qualification does she have to demand that China's government release Chinese people who have broken or infringed on Chinese laws and rules?" China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, asked. "We hope that the US side stops these unreasonable words and deeds which interfere in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty," Hua told a daily news briefing.

The US criticism comes at a particularly sensitive time for China.

Its recent detention of six activists, including lawyers, professors and journalists, adds to evidence that Chinese leaders are determined to continue a clampdown on dissent ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crushing of demonstrations around Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

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