'Tiananmen Square massacre regrettable'
Beijing: Beijing's former hard-line mayor has described the bloodshed during the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as ''regrettable''.
Chen Xitong, now 81, who was the mayor of Beijing during the massacre, said that the tragedy could have been prevented.
"Several hundred people died on that day," Washington Post quoted Chen as saying in a book to be published on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the massacre.
"As the mayor, I felt sorry. I hoped we could have solved the case peacefully. Looking back, I consider [the events of June 4] a tragedy that could have been prevented, should have been prevented, but was not prevented," Chen said.
Chen's apparent regret is important, as he is the named author of the only public official report on the massacre, titled ''Checking the Turmoil and Quelling the Counter-revolutionary Rebellion”.
Chen was promoted after the massacre, but was removed in 1995 from his position as Communist Party secretary of Beijing on charges of corruption, for which he was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 1998.
In the book, which goes on sale in Hong Kong on Friday, Chen denies the corruption charges and hints that he was the victim of a political purge.