Associated Press

Beijing, June 1:

China today defended its June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, saying that the country is more stable and prosperous as a result. “It was political turmoil no matter what you call it,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. He said the crackdown “played a very good role in stabilising the situation, which enabled China to develop its economy, and made contributions to the peace and development of the world.”

Liu’s comments came three days before the 15th anniversary of the assault by Chinese troops on the demonstrations that centered on Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing. The approaching anniversary has prompted the government to detain political activists and relatives of those killed in the assault in an apparent attempt to prevent public commemorations. “The Chinese government took decisive measures to stabilise the situation in the interest of the foreign policy of China and the people’s livelihood,” Liu said at a regular news briefing. Hundreds died in the attack. The Chinese government has never issued a death toll and has detained and harassed activists who try to assemble their own.