BEIJING — The government said Monday that it resents the United States having invited a leading dissident to a banquet given by President Bush and regrets that a fuss was made when police barred him from attending.
Chinese intellectuals, meanwhile, called the action against Fang Lizhi "stupid," "neolithic" and "unacceptable."
Fang, an internationally respected astrophysicist who has criticized Marxism and called for democratic reform in China, was invited to the banquet along with his wife, Li Shuxian. But dozens of police converged to block his car and bar him from entering the hotel where the Texas-style barbecue was held Sunday. Police refused to allow him to ride to the event by taxi.
"All the arrangements concerning President Bush's stay in China had been agreed upon by both sides beforehand," the official New China News Agency said, quoting a Foreign Ministry spokesman. "The U.S. side, without consulting the Chinese side, invited Fang to attend the dinner, which was especially in honor of Chinese leaders. Therefore, the Chinese side resented this."
Visiting world leaders generally hold banquets for their Chinese hosts, but it would be unusual for them to submit the guest list for Chinese approval.