On June 4, 1989, Chinese military troops massacred thousands of unarmed civilians who blocked the route to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The Tiananmen Square had been occupied by student protesters and demonstrators several weeks prior to the incident.
In late May 1989, thousands of students in Beijing gathered to take advantage of the media exposure that was to follow Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit. They found it the perfect opportunity to stage pro-democracy demonstrations and occupied Tiananmen Square for almost a fortnight. The protests were also meant to mourn the death of liberal reformer and former Communist Party General Secretary, Hu Yaobang. The university students were vocal in their demands for reinstating democratic freedoms including freedom of speech and press as well as government accountability. Inspired by the students, about a million people are believed to have assembled.
Civilians from over 400 cities and towns in China showed their support for the student-led protests alarming the communist party. Deng Xiaoping and other leaders resorted to the use of force. Martial law was declared on May 20, and over 300,000 troops were deployed in Beijing. The demonstrations came to a sordid and violent end on the night or June 3 going into the early hours of June 4. …(Read more)