China says the United States is to blame for a diplomatic row over the barring by Chinese police of a leading dissident from President Bush's farewell banquet over the weekend.

A Foreign Ministry official quoted by the state-run Xinhua News Agency early Tuesday indicated Beijing had felt insulted by Bush's decision to invite dissident Fang Lizhi to a banquet Sunday at which Chinese leaders were the guests of honor."The U.S. side, without consulting the Chinese side, invited Fang to attend the dinner, which was especially in honor of Chinese leaders," the Foreign Ministry official said. "Therefore, the Chinese side resented this."

Fang, 52, a leading astrophysicist known as "China's Andrei Sakharov" for his outspoken protests, was intercepted by authorities Sunday night as his car approached the Great Wall Hotel, where a gala Texas-style barbecue was held for Chinese leaders.