Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4 - Tiananmen Square, 1989

In the early hours of June 4, 1989, soldiers and tanks from two divisions of China’s People's Liberation Army began retaking control of Beijing and clearing Tiananmen Square of student-led popular demonstrations, including many barricades in city streets. The protests had started in April with the death a liberal reformer, Hu Yaobang (former Communist Party General Secretary), who had lost a power struggle with hardliners over the direction of economic and political reforms. University students in Tiananmen Square expressed grievances over inflation, limited career prospects and corrupt party elite, and called for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. At their height, the protests attracted nearly a million people. The Army’s mass killings on June 4 occurred in thoroughfares and the city’s Muxidi area on the way to the Square, rather than inside it. Protests also occurred in many of China’s cities. Pictured: courage and defiance shown by “tank man,” on Beijing’s Chang'an Avenue; AP photo, June 5, 1989.

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