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World Pushes China on Human Rights on Tiananmen Anniversary

Visitors queue for a security check to enter Tiananmen Square in Beijing, June 4, 2014.
Visitors queue for a security check to enter Tiananmen Square in Beijing, June 4, 2014.
World leaders are using the 25th anniversary of China's deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown to urge Beijing to make progress on human rights.

In a firm statement Wednesday, the White House said it "continues to honor the memories" of those killed and "will always speak out in support of the basic freedoms the protesters at Tiananmen Square sought."

The statement applauded China's "extraordinary social and economic progress" and said the U.S. values good relations with Beijing, but stressed Washington will continue to raise the issue of "universal human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The White House also urged China to account for those killed, detained or missing in connection with the events of June 4, 1989. That echoed an appeal made Tuesday by United Nations human rights Chief Navi Pillay.

Memorials and Protests for the Tiananmen Anniversary

Many of China's neighbors also expressed solidarity with the goals of the protesters and extended sympathy to the victims.

In Japan, which is involved in a heated territorial dispute with China, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he hopes Beijing will show "positive development" in advancing freedom, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Tens of thousands are expected to show up for candlelit vigils to remember the victims Wednesday in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou urged China to redress historical wrongs "to ensure that such a tragedy will never happen again."

The Dalai Lama said he offered prayers for "those who died for freedom, democracy and human rights," which he called the "foundation for a free society" and the "source of true peace and stability."

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader noted "great progress has been made to integrate China into the world economy," but said Beijing should also "enter the mainstream of global democracy" to help gain the trust and respect of the rest of the world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.