Hong Kong set for vigil as US marks Tiananmen anniversary

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"We join others in the global community in urging the Chinese government to make a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing; to release those who have been jailed for striving to keep the memory of Tiananmen Square alive; and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families".

In his statement, Pompeo called on Chinese authorities to release those who have been jailed for their efforts to keep alive the memory of the crackdown and to stop harassing the protest's participants and their families. On the night of 3 and 4 June 1989, Tiananmen Square sheltered the last pro-democracy supporters of the uprising.

But these 29 years on, democracy remains a fleeting idea for China, perhaps more fleeting than ever.

In response to Pompeo's comments, China had lodged "stern representations" with the United States, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday. A British diplomatic cable released past year said at least 10,000 people were killed.

The event happened on June 4, 1989 and the event is now marked by vigils in Hong Kong and other places with large Chinese diaspora populations.

While mainland Chinese are only dimly aware of what happened at Tiananmen Square almost three decades ago, the subject is openly discussed in Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy.

"But I think China's position in principle is very clear, which is that China's door to dialogue and consultations is always open", Ms Hua said.

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"As Liu Xiaobo wrote in his 2010 Nobel Peace Prize speech, delivered in absentia, 'the ghosts of June 4th have not yet been laid to rest'", Pompeo said referring to the Chinese dissident who died previous year while still in custody.

While the Chinese Communist Party has stepped up reform and adopted measures to combat corruption, it has also stepped up suppression of the right to free speech and expression to solidify one-party rule, according to the statement.

The Chinese government has denied any wrongdoing and called the demonstration first a "counterrevolutionary riot", then a "political turmoil" that has already settled and needs no more attention.

The Chinese Communist Party no longer mentions the Tiananmen incident in order to help Chinese society move on, which it has successfully done, Hu added, writing in English on Twitter, which is blocked in China.

In Taiwan, the democratic island nation that is increasingly threatened by Beijing's aggression, President Tsai Ing-wen also commemorated the anniversary and said in a Facebook post that she hopes "both sides of the Taiwan Strait can enjoy the universal values of freedom and democracy".

Mr Pompeo's statement is "groundlessly accusing the Chinese government and interfering in China's internal affairs".

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