Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 4, 1989

The Chinese were battling their own people on the streets of Beijing – or Peking as it was called then – on June 4, in what became known as the Tiananmen Square massacre

Troops battled in the middle of Beijing as they looked to stop an uprising from thousands of pro democracy campaigners. There were many deaths and arrests amongst the protesters. TV coverage beamed shocking brutal images around the world which led to the West and the USA introducing sactions.

Protests

The movement started in May, as nearly 1,000,000 protesters, who were mainly young students, packed into the centre of Beijing to demand that the repressive Communist Party regime be removed and replaced with a democratic process.

The vigils, chanting and marching lasted almost 3 weeks. The Communist Party last patience after this and stormed Tiananmen Square, shooting at will into the crowds that were gathered. Chaos took over as thousands tried to flee the trigger happy soldiers whilst others looked to stone them and attacked the military vehicles by turning them over and setting them on fire.

Victims

Independent reporters and diplomats from the West at the scene suggested that at least three hundred or maybe 1000s were killed and about 10,000 arrests were made.

Democracy?

At a time when East/West relations were going through massive change with George Bush senior at the helm in the US and Mikhail Gorbachev moving to democratise Russia, it seemed inconceivable that the Chinese would continue with such an oppressive , savage and brutal approach against its own people. However, it did.

Both Gorbachev and Bush, pushed for the Chinese to democratise their political system, but it fell on deaf ears and the Tanks mowed down the people in Tiananmen Square.