The debate on the dreaded and bloody incident that took place in Tiananmen Square twenty eight years ago has been opened up once again from the Britain’s National Archives. The former British Ambassador who used to hold office in Beijing during the time of the incident, Alan Donald, gave the details to London via a telegram stating, “Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000.” This document was made public twenty eight years later.
The Chinese government in 1989 announced that 200 civilians and several dozen police and military were killed in the suppression of the “counterrevolutionary riots”.
But the French sinologist, Jean-Pierre Cabestan said the British figure was credible and he pointed out that US documents gave a similar assessment, although they are declassified now.
The violence was deadly according to Donald when on June 3-4 army entered Beijing after seven weeks of protest on Tiananmen Square and put an end to it with bloody consequences.
During their advance, armoured personnel carriers “opened fire on the crowd (both civilians and soldiers) before running over them in their APCs,” said Donald.
Once the soldiers arrived in Tiananmen Square, “students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes APCs attacked. Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. APCs then ran over bodies time and time again to make ‘pie’ and remain collected by bulldozer. Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains,” wrote the British ambassador.
The estimate of casualties out of that incident is no less than 10 times higher to the figures officially declared and commonly accepted at that time. The estimated figure that came out in the media after the incident ranged from several hundred to more than a thousand dead.
After nearly three decades, China’s iron curtain continues in relation to the Tiananmen Square massacre. China has forbidden any discussion on the matter, be it in the form of media or textbook or through the censorship on the internet. China, today, is blessed with unprecedented growth and development ushering in large scale prosperity. However, any depletion of this can again lead to protest against dictatorship regime, which will ignite same kind of brutal response from its government and from PLA (People’s Liberation Army) who is so far totally loyal to the Communist Party.