1989 Tiananmen Square protests

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Tiananmen Square in 1988

The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, commonly known in mainland China as the June Fourth Incident (Chinese: 六四事件, liùsì shìjiàn), were student-led demonstrations in Beijing (the capital of the People's Republic of China) for the establishment of basic human and press rights and against the Communist-led Chinese government in mid-1989. More broadly, it refers to the popular national movement inspired by the Beijing protests during that period, sometimes called the '89 Democracy Movement (Chinese: 八九民运, bājiǔ mínyùn). The protests were forcibly suppressed after Chinese Premier Li Peng declared martial law. In what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators trying to block the military's advance towards Tiananmen Square. The number of civilian deaths was internally estimated by the Chinese government to be near or above 10,000.


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  • Students, we came too late. We are sorry. You talk about us, criticize us, it is all necessary. The reason that I came here is not to ask you to forgive us. All I want to say is that students are getting very weak, it is the 7th day since you went on hunger strike, you can't continue like this. [...] You are still young, there are still many days yet to come, you must live healthy, and see the day when China accomplishes the four modernizations. You are not like us, we are already old, it doesn't matter to us any more.
  • The illegal organization "Beijing Students Autonomous Federation" instigated and organized the counter-revolutionary rebellion in Beijing. It is now decided to pursue 21 of its head and key members, including Wang Dan. After receiving this order, please immediately arrange investigation work. If found, immediate arrest the targets and inform the Beijing Public Security Bureau.
    • The Beijing Public Security Bureau issued the 21 Most Wanted list with the following description.Template:Sfn
  • I remember 1989 vividly, having spent much of that summer in Berlin before the Wall fell. And while largely peaceful revolutions swept through Central and Eastern Europe that year (it was only three years later, in Yugoslavia, that the death of Communism sparked war), there was no such turning point in China, where 1989 also saw the Tiananmen Square massacre. With the benefit of hindsight, the survival of Communism in China was a more significant historical phenomenon than its collapse east of the River Elbe.
    • Niall Ferguson, "We have seen very few years in history that have been truly pivotal. This could be one.", The Mail on Sunday, March 20, 2022.

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