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TURMOIL IN CHINA: Crackdown on Dissent : Gorbachev Sees Setback if Reforms Collapse in China

June 16, 1989|MICHAEL PARKS | Times Staff Writer

BONN — Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, expressing regret over recent developments in China, warned here Thursday that a failure of China's reforms would undermine the easing of international tensions around the world.

"All of us want the profound reforms and changes in that great country not to fail," Gorbachev told a press conference on the last day of his visit to West Germany. "That could cause major damage to the process of improving relations in the world.

"We hope that China, its people and its government find a way out that lives up to the interests of the Chinese people and the hopes of all of us."

Gorbachev, asked for his assessment of the way in which the Chinese authorities had crushed the student-led demonstrations for democracy, said that "unfortunately the situation turned rather grave" in the month since his visit to Beijing.

'We Are All Concerned'

"We regret some aspects of what has happened," he said. "We are all concerned about what is occurring in China."

Gorbachev's comments were his first since the Soviet Parliament adopted a statement earlier this month describing the turmoil as an internal Chinese affair and criticizing any foreign attempts to put pressure on Beijing.

Last Friday, however, Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov said the Soviet government has been surprised by the turn of events in China and was "extremely dismayed" by the violent crackdown.

In Beijing, Gorbachev had praised the students in broad terms, although their protests disrupted much of his visit, and he urged a dialogue to work out the country's problems. Later, at the Congress of People's Deputies in Moscow, he cautioned members of the new Soviet legislature against interfering in Chinese affairs.

Chinese authorities, justifying the bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy demonstrations, have now condemned the movement as "counterrevolutionary" and an attempt to seize power and end Communist rule.

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