The Chinese government accused the U.S. Congress on Thursday of slander and gross interference in the latest round of recriminations prompted by Beijing's crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
In Paris, prominent Chinese exiles including student leader Wuer Kaixi appealed for more pressure from Western governments and individuals on China's leaders to halt secret arrests and executions of dissidents.
China's Foreign Ministry accused U.S. lawmakers of "pursuing power politics," the official New China News Agency said.
"The U.S. Congress has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs time and again, seriously hurting the feelings of the Chinese people," the agency quoted a ministry official as telling U.S. Ambassador James R. Lilley.
At issue were separate amendments approved by the Senate and House of Representatives that provide sanctions against China. President Bush already has halted military sales and high-level contacts, but the amendments would also stop U.S. funds from supporting trade with China and suspend satellite exports and nuclear cooperation.
In a separate protest, a Chinese legislative committee said the amendments "willfully distorted the facts" about the army's June 3-4 attack on students in Beijing who were calling for democratic reforms.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress accused U.S. lawmakers of having unspecified "ulterior motives" and warned that efforts to pressure China, "like lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own feet . . . will ultimately hurt the interests of the United States itself."
China has strongly objected to all foreign criticism of the army attack and subsequent arrests and executions. But the United States has been the most heavily attacked in a blitz of broadcast and newspaper commentaries.
In Paris, student leader Wuer and four other men who have fled China called on "all people in the world blessed with a moral conscience to come to our aid and help us put an end immediately to these atrocious acts of repression."
They said that a confidential study in China reported more than 120,000 arrests in the suppression of the democracy movement since early June, and more than 100 secret executions in Beijing.
Wuer said they received confirmation that student leader Wang Dan has been captured after more than a month in hiding.
In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman refused to comment on the persistent reports that Wang has been arrested.