Deng `regretted' attack on Tiananmen protesters

Deng Xiaoping bitterly regretted the brutal crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, according to Chinese sources quoted yesterday by the Japanese Kyodo news agency.

The late Chinese leader, who was head of the Central Military Commission on the day troops opened fire on unarmed protesters on 4 June 1989, was quoted as saying the action was "the most regrettable event" of his life.

According to Kyodo's unnamed Chinese sources, Deng said he had been forced into a harsh response to the demonstrators.

"We couldn't help at the time but take the most active response," Deng is alleged to have said. Agencies - Tokyo

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