President Bush, in his first direct contact with a Chinese leader since the advent of student demonstrations, called on Beijing to stop jamming Voice of America radio and refrain from violence against protesters.
Bush, who met Tuesday in the Oval Office with Wan Li, president of China's National People's Congress, also expressed his commitment to strong U.S.-China relations, and the two discussed the recent Soviet-Sino summit, according to a White House statement. Li then cut short his U.S. trip to rush home.The Bush administration expects Wan to call a meeting of the People's Congress, China's legislature, which has the authority to impose or revoke martial law, said one U.S. official.
The White House statement quoted Bush as telling Wan that the United States is committed to democratic movements and urging Beijing not to employ violence.
Democracy, said Bush, "is the underpinning of our being as a nation. I urge non-violence and restraint in your present situation."
He also complained about Beijing's recent jamming of frequencies used by the U.S.-sponsored Voice of America to broadcast Mandarin-language programming into China.
"I urge that Voice of America not be jammed, and that reporters be given open access," Bush was quoted as saying.
Demonstrators listened to VOA to keep informed during the five weeks of demonstrations. The jamming, which began Monday, was the first since before Sino-U.S. relations were restored in 1979.
Bush told Wan that "he remains personally committed to expanding the normal and constructive relations," according to the statement.