WORLD : West Snubs Chinese Army Day

<i> From Times wire services</i>

China’s top leaders and generals today congratulated the army for suppressing June’s pro-democracy demonstrations, but foreign ambassadors in Beijing protested by boycotting the Army Day celebrations.

In a speech Defense Minister Gen. Qin Jiwei twice praised Deng Xiaoping in what appears to be a growing personality cult surrounding the 84-year-old senior leader.

“Led by Deng Xiaoping, the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries played a great role in this struggle,” Qin told an audience of senior officers and politicians.

Deng, head of the powerful party and state central military commissions, was absent from the celebrations in the Great Hall of the People. No explanation was given.

Ambassadors and defense attaches from the United States, the European Community, Scandinavian countries and Japan boycotted the celebrations.