BEIJING (AFP) - China Thursday voiced "strong dissatisfaction" over US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call for Beijing to publish the names of those killed or missing in the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989.
"The US remarks, which disregard the facts, make groundless accusations against the Chinese government," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regular briefing.
"We express strong dissatisfaction to that. We urge the US to put aside its political prejudices and correct its mistakes so as to refrain from undermining bilateral relations."
Clinton Wednesday urged China to publish the names of those killed 20 years ago or who went missing, and called for the release of prisoners still detained for taking part in the peaceful pro-democracy protests.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, lost their lives when China's army opened fire on unarmed protesters in Beijing the night of June 3-4, 1989, but the government has never given a full, detailed account of the casualties.
"A China that has made enormous progress economically and is emerging to take its rightful place in global leadership should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal," Clinton said in a statement.
Qin further called those comments "a gross interference in Chinese internal affairs."
Clinton also urged China to end harassment of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of bereaved relatives campaigning to know more about the incident and for authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
The US Congress made a similar appeal in a nearly unanimous resolution approved the day before.
China has imposed a security clampdown to stop any event marking Thursday's anniversary in the face of renewed calls to account for the bloodshed, with tens of thousands of people expected to rally in cities around the world.
Security was extremely tight on Tiananmen Square as police officers searched bags and even the pockets of thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists streaming through checkpoints to visit the giant plaza.
Foreign journalists were barred from entering, and an AFP TV journalist was ordered by police to delete footage from his camera.
China also has attempted to prevent any public discussion or remembrance of the events of June 1989 by blocking access to social networking websites like Twitter, blacking out some foreign news reports and hiding away key dissidents. (AFP)