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Clintons Pray At Beijing Church

The day after a breakthrough U.S.-China summit, President Clinton and his family attended Sunday services at Chongwenmen Church in Beijing, the country's largest Protestant church. The morning worship highlights a key area of difference between the two nations - religious freedom.

Human rights groups say dozens of Protestant and Catholic leaders are imprisoned or held in Chinese labor camps for refusing to bow to government control. President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang agreed to exchange visits of religious leaders to further understanding on spiritual matters.

CBS.com reports on President Clinton's trip to China
"I believe that Chinese and Americans are brothers and sisters as children of God," the president told the congregation. "We come here in that spirit today."

President Clinton said, "I believe our faith calls upon us to seek unity with people across the world of different races and backgrounds and creeds."

After church, the president and his family headed off on a day of sightseeing at the palaces of the Forbidden City and China's most famous landmark, the Great Wall.

On Saturday night, President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang celebrated their day of talks. At a state dinner, the two leaders toasting one another, each using Chinese sayings to illustrate what they wanted from the relationship.

"An ancient Chinese proverb tells us, 'Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be only afraid of standing still,'" President Clinton said.

Jiang quoted the Chinese sage, Mencius, who counseled: "A good citizen of the world will befriend the other citizens of the world."

Earlier Saturday, Mr. Clinton walked over the very stones where soldiers fired and students died. For the Chinese, the ceremony was political absolution, paying respects to the army that crushed democracy, CBS News Correspondent Scott Pelley reports.

The morning began as Mr. Clinton's critics had warned, but in the end, he turned the memory of a massacre into a defense of democracy.

"I believe and the American people believe that the use of force and the tragic loss of life was wrong," President Clinton said.

Defiant to the last, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said the action in the square was necessary. It has been estimated that hundreds of unarmed civilians were cut down in the crackdown.

"The Chinese people have long drawn a historical conclusion," Ziang said. "The Chinese government not taken the resolute measures then we could not have enjoyed the stability that we are enjoying today."

Tiananmen square has blocked progress in U.S.-China relations for nine years. Mr. Clinton decided it was time to break with that tragic past.
"I am trying to have a dialogue here that will enable both of us to move forward so that the Chinese people will get the best possible result. I believe stability in the 21st century will require high levels of freedom," Mr. Clinton said.

This was the moment that carried the highest political risk in Mr. Clinton's controversial tour of China. But with his forceful statement in the news conference, the president was able to deliver a sharp rebuke to his critics even while standing in Tienanmen square.

Jiang said that the fact that the U.S. and Chinese leaders can disagree publicly is a healthy sign for relations.

"I think President Clinton is a strong defender of the American interest, and I am a strong defender of the Chinese interest," Jiang said. "But despite that, we still can have very friendly exchanges of views and discussion. And I think that is democracy."

Despite disagreements, the two leaders did reach common ground on arms control, energy and the environment.

Mr. Clinton praised Jiang's government for resisting pressure to devalue its currency, a move many fear would worsen Asia's financial crisis. But they could not agree on terms to allow China entry into the World Trade Organization, which sets global trade rules.

Among their areas of agreement, Clinton and Jiang highlighted a decision by both countries to stop targeting their nuclear missiles at each other's cities. They also agreed to intensify cooperation on developing cleaner energy sources and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions believed to contribute to global warming.

President Clinton agreed the detargeting pact was an important show of much improved U.S.-China future ties. "Our friendship may never be perfect," he said. "No friendship is. But I hope it will last forever."

Mr. Clinton also pressed Jiang to start a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. Jiang said Chinese control has enhanced conditions in Tibet and, as long as the Dalai Lama was willing to acknowledge that Tibet and the island of Taiwan are both part of China, then "the door to dialogue and negotiation is open."

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