Newly declassified British communications paint a more gruesome and detailed picture of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre than ever before.
Communications from Sir Alan Donald, British Ambassador to China at the time, described injured students begging for their lives before being bayoneted by soldiers, and the remains of protesters being incinerated and then flushed into drains, the Independent reported Saturday. Donald’s source for the communication was a “good friend” serving on China’s State Council who he said had “previously proved reliable and was careful to separate fact from speculation and rumour.”
“The 27 Army APCs [armoured personnel carriers] opened fire on the crowd before running over them. APCs ran over troops and civilians at 65kph,” Donald wrote. “Students understood they were given one hour to leave square, but after five minutes APCs attacked.”
Donald said that the attacking troops – the 27 Army of Shanxi Province – were “primitives,” 60 percent of whom were illiterate. Donald later said that his friend in the Chinese government said they’d been chosen because they were the most loyal to the communist government.
“Students linked arms but were mown down. APCs then ran over the bodies time and time again to make, quote ‘pie’ unquote, and remains collected by bulldozer,” he wrote. “Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.”
Donald’s shocking recount describes the events of June 3 and 4 in more detail, alleging that the military didn’t limit itself simply because it was attacking civilians.
“1,000 survivors were told they could escape but were then mown down by specially prepared MG positions,” Donald wrote. “Army ambulances who attempted to give aid were shot up, as was a Sino-Japanese hospital ambulance. With medical crew dead, wounded driver attempted to ram attackers but was blown to pieces by anti-tank weapon.”
Donald later says that he estimated a “minimum” of 10,000 civilians were killed, a number far above previous estimates. The Chinese government admits only that roughly 200-300 were killed, while the Chinese Red Cross released estimates that roughly 2,700 were killed.
There is evidence to support Donald’s number, however, as the U.S. was reported in 2014 to have files indicating that the Chinese military’s own internal estimate was 10,454.
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