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Beijing — At least 10,000 people were killed in the Chinese army’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, according to 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 said in a telegram to London. The document, made public more than 28 years after the event, was seen by AFP at Britain’s National Archives. The estimate, given on June 5 1989, the day after the crackdown, is almost 10 times higher than estimates commonly accepted at the time, which generally reported a toll ranging from several hundred to more than a thousand dead. But French sinologist Jean-Pierre Cabestan said the British figure was credible, pointing out that recently declassified US documents gave a similar assessment. "That’s two pretty independent sources which say the same thing," said Cabestan, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. ...

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