WASHINGTON — In its first criticism of a specific Chinese leader, the United States said today that if senior leader Deng Xiaoping "was responsible for the brutal attack, . . . then he has acted to undercut the very reform process he sought to foster."
The State Department also said in a statement that China's efforts to label political opponents "counterrevolutionaries" will not change the fact that large numbers of peaceful demonstrators were killed by troops in Tian An Men Square.
"That's a tragedy for China, its people and for the legacy he sought to pass on," State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler told reporters.
In the statement, Tutwiler referred to "the chairman," and other senior officials said Deng was the target of the remark.