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Thursday, June 14, 2007

China Slams Bush Over Remarks on Communism - By Patrick Goodenough - June 14, 2007 - China on Thursday criticized President Bush's remarks at the dedication of a memorial to 100 million-plus victims of communism, accusing him of a "Cold War" mentality.

Bush said at Wednesday's event in Washington D.C. that the number of those killed by communist regimes around the world was "staggering."

"According to the best scholarly estimate, communism took the lives of tens of millions of people in China and the Soviet Union, and millions more in North Korea, Cambodia, Africa, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Eastern Europe, and other parts of the globe," he said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a press briefing that Beijing resented the U.S. actions and remarks and had lodged "stern representations."

"There are political forces in the United States that still think in Cold War terms and seek to provoke conflicts between different ideologies and social systems," Qin said. "But this runs counter to the trend of the times and is unpopular.

"We ask the U.S. side to give up Cold War thinking and the practice of making ideological judgments about other countries," he said. "The U.S. should stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, do more to promote dialogue and cooperation, and take concrete steps to safeguard the constructive and cooperative ties that exist between China and the United States."

The new monument in Washington D.C., dedicated Wednesday, is a replica of the statue -- itself based on the Statue of Liberty -- erected during pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. The Chinese military crushed the protests at the cost of lives ranging in estimates from hundreds to 5,000.

Although the disintegration of the Soviet Union brought about communism's demise in Europe and most of Asia last century, a handful of countries are still ruled by communists, with China by far the most powerful.

According to scholars, up to 2.5 million Chinese died during the civil war between nationalists and Mao Zedong's communists in the second half of the 1940s.

And over the following three decades, an estimated 40-65 million Chinese died during early rural and urban purges; the 1958-1960 famines resulting from the socio-economic transformation plan known as the Great Leap Forward; the Cultural Revolution power struggles between 1966 and 1976; in labor camps; and during and after the 1950 occupation of Tibet.

And in more recent years, since former President Jiang Zemin outlawed the Falun Gong meditation sect in 1999, overseas Falun Gong organizations say they have recorded the deaths in custody of more than 2,000 practitioners.

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