BEIJING, June 5 (UPI) -- After the White House called for a thorough account of casualties from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, China issued a formal complaint to the United States.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday he was "deeply dissatisfied" by the request for an accounting of those who were injured, detained, jailed or executed while, and after, the Chinese military brutally suppressed the student-led pro-democracy protest. He added he had made "solemn representations."
"We call on Chinese authorities to account for those killed, detained, or missing in connection with the events surrounding June 4, 1989," the White House said in a statement.
The world, but not China, noted the 25th anniversary of the massacre on Wednesday. The Chinese government regards the 1989 protests as counter-revolutionary riots, and no official memorials took place, though tens of thousands of people held a vigil in Hong Kong, where an observance has been held annually.
There have long been conflicting reports regarding the number of people killed in the incident -- a bloody crackdown on dissent and calls for democracy in China -- ordered after hardliners won control of the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese authorities put the death toll at 23; however, a scholarly journal said in 2005 that nearly 3,000 people were killed.
There has been no comparable protest in China since 1989.