China condemns US Secretary of State Pompeo's 'prejudice, arrogance' on Tiananmen

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a joint news conference in The Hague, Netherlands on June 3, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (AFP) - China on Tuesday (June 4) accused the United States of attacking its system and smearing its policies after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made comments "out of prejudice and arrogance" about the Tiananmen crackdown.

The furious reaction came after Mr Pompeo said on Monday, the day before the 30th anniversary of the June 4, 1989 bloodshed, that Washington had lost hope for human rights progress in China.

A spokesman for Beijing's embassy in Washington said in a statement that whoever attempts "to patronise and bully the Chinese people...will only end up in the ash heap of history".

The spokesman said Mr Pompeo had used "the pretext of human rights" for a statement that "grossly intervenes in China's internal affairs, attacks its system, and smears its domestic and foreign policies".

The spokesman added: "This is an affront to the Chinese people and a serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it."

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed Mr Pompeo for his "lunatic ravings and babbling nonsense".

Mr Pompeo's statement "maliciously attacks China's political system, denigrates the state of China's human rights and religious affairs, wantonly criticises China's Xinjiang policy and severely interferes in China's domestic affairs", Mr Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing.

"These lunatic ravings and babbling nonsense will only end up in the trash can of history," he said.

Beijing has gone to exhaustive lengths to prevent commemorations of the crackdown in which hundreds of unarmed civilians, and possibly more than 1,000, were killed when China sent tanks and troops into Tiananmen Square to crush a student-led movement.

The statement by the Chinese embassy in Washington referred only to "the political incident of the late 1980s", and said China's government and people long ago "reached the verdict" on it.

"China's human rights are in the best period ever," the embassy said.

"China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and to the development of human rights in China and the whole world, and has made significant contribution to the international human rights governance. This is a fact that is recognised by all unbiased people," it added.

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