Canada joins U.S. call for Tiananmen accounting

Thu Jun 4, 2009 3:02pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada joined with the United States on Thursday to demand a public accounting by Beijing for those killed in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago and do more to improve human rights.

"We hope that they will be able to examine these events in an open and transparent fashion -- including the public accounting of those killed, detained or missing," Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said in a written statement.

"China has made significant economic progress in the past 20 years, which has lifted millions out of poverty. And while efforts have been made to improve human rights, there is more that can be done," Cannon said.

China denounced as crude meddling a demand for similar accounting by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, to crush pro-democracy protesters but the Communist Party has never released a death toll.

Regular Canadian reminders of the need for China to respect human rights have kept relations between the two countries cool at best.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon speaks during a news conference in Beijing May 12, 2009. REUTERS/Alfred Cheng Jin</p>