British archive confirms at least 10,000 killed in 1989 Tiananmen crackdown

1989 Tiananmen crackdown. (Photo courtesy; China Today)
1989 Tiananmen crackdown. (Photo courtesy; China Today)

(, Dec24, 2017) – The number of unarmed democracy protesters killed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on the Tiananmen Square in the night between Jun 3 and 4, 1989 was at least 10,000, reported the AFP Dec 23, citing a newly released British secret diplomatic cable that gives gruesome details of the bloodshed in Beijing.

“Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000,” the then British ambassador Alan Donald was quoted as having said in a telegram to London.

AFP said it had accessed the Britain’s National Archives, where the document has been made public more than 28 years after the event.

While previous estimates had put the death toll at between several hundred and more than a thousand, this British figure stands corroborated by a recently declassified US documents which gave a similar assessment, the report noted.

The report cited French sinologist Jean-Pierre Cabestan as saying the British figure was credible, pointing out that the recently declassified US documents had given a similar assessment.

1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. (Photo courtesy; BBC)
1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. (Photo courtesy; BBC)

“That’s two pretty independent sources which say the same thing,” Cabestan, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, was quoted as saying.

Donald’s account was stated to give horrific details of the violence unleashed on the night of June 3-4 when the PLA entered Beijing to end seven weeks of protests on the Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart of Communist power.

“Students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes APCs (armoured personnel carriers) attacked”, Donald was stated to have written. “Students linked arms but were mown down. APCs then ran over bodies time and again to make ‘pie’ and remains collected by bulldozer. Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.”

The Chinese government had said, at the end of Jun 1989, that the suppression of the “counter-revolutionary riots” had killed only 200 civilians and several dozen police and military.

The Chinese government still forbids any debate on the subject, mention of which is banned from textbooks and the media, and meticulously censored on the Internet.


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