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Declassified cable estimates 10,000 killed at Tiananmen Square
National flags of China and Maldives fly on Tiananmen Square. Photo: VCG / VCG via Getty Images)

A newly declassified cable from the British Ambassador to China at the time, Sir Alan Donald, describes the civilian deaths at the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as at a "minimum estimate" of 10,000, The Independent reports. The document was reportedly written on June 5, just about 24 hours after the massacre.

Why it matters: That's much higher than previous estimates and disclosures; the Chinese government claims between 200 and 300 were killed and the Chinese Red Cross claims about 2,700 were killed. The document also provides more gruesome details than previously disclosed. In 2014, NTDTV reported that a Chinese informer reported 10,454 fatalities. The Chinese government has said the response to the protests at Tiananmen Square was a legitimate defense against a riot or rebellion.