British envoy’s cable put China’s Tiananmen crackdown toll at 10,000….reports Asian Lite News
The Chinese Army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations killed at least 10,000 people, according to newly-released British diplomatic cable. The figure was given in the cable written by then British ambassador to China, Alan Donald. The document, made public more than 28 years after the event, described with gruesome detail the bloodshed that unfolded after weeks of mounting tension, the BBC reported.
It recalled injured girls being bayoneted, bodies being ground up by armoured vehicles and human remains being flushed into sewers.
The document was kept at the UK National Archives in London and was declassified in October, when it was seen by the HK01 news site.
Previous estimates of the deaths in the pro-democracy protests ranged from several hundred to more than 1,000. China’s statement at that time said that 200 civilians and several dozen security personnel had died in Beijing following the suppression of “counter-revolutionary riots” on June 4, 1989.
Donald’s telegram is from June 5 and he said his source was someone who “was passing on information given to him by a close friend who is currently a member of the State Council”.
The council is effectively China’s ruling Cabinet and is chaired by the Premier.
Describing the horrific details of the violence on the night of June 3 and 4 when the Army entered Beijing to end seven weeks of protests in Tiananmen Square, Donald wrote: “Students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes armoured personnel carriers attacked.
“Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. Armoured personnel carriers then ran over bodies time and time again to make ‘pie’ and remains collected by bulldozer. Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.”
“Four wounded girl students begged for their lives but were bayoneted,” Donald wrote in the document.
He added that “some members of the State Council considered that civil war was imminent”. The political protest was the largest such demonstration in Communist China’s history.
China bans all activists’ commemorations and highly regulates online discussion of the incident, including censoring criticism. But it is marked annually by activists elsewhere in the world, particularly in Hong Kong and Taiwan.