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Daily History

June 4 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre takes place

On June 4th 1989, Chinese troops stormed through Tiananmen Square in the centre of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The brutal Chinese government assault on the protesters shocked the West and brought denunciations and sanctions from the United States.

In May 1989, nearly a million Chinese, mostly young students, crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and call for the resignations of Chinese Communist Party leaders deemed too repressive. For nearly three weeks, the protesters kept up daily vigils, and marched and chanted. Western reporters captured much of the drama for television and newspaper audiences in the United States and Europe.

On June 4th 1989, however, Chinese troops and security police stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters. Turmoil ensued, as tens of thousands of the young students tried to escape the rampaging Chinese forces. Other protesters fought back, stoning the attacking troops and overturning and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, of the protesters had been killed and as many as 10,000 were arrested. British intelligence put the figure at about 10,000 dead.

The savagery of the Chinese government’s attack shocked both its allies and Cold War enemies. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratise the Chinese political system.

In the United States, editorialists and members of Congress denounced the Tiananmen Square massacre and pressed for President George Bush to punish the Chinese government. A little more than three weeks later, the U.S. Congress voted to impose economic sanctions against the People’s Republic of China in response to the brutal violation of human rights.

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


11 thoughts on “June 4 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre takes place

  1. Another day that will live on in infamy.

    Posted by --Rick | June 5, 2012, 11:42
  2. Great post … 1989 – it didn’t feel that long ago … a shame for China – they are still not gaining any points with me.
    Thanks for a great historic post again. You’re so good on this … so keep them coming.

    Posted by viveka | June 5, 2012, 19:25
  3. I read a book called (if i recall) The Tiananmen Diary – I was amazed. Thanks for the post.

    Posted by Tim Prussic | June 8, 2012, 03:19
  4. An interesting post. I was in China in Spring 1989. Seems a lifetime ago now.

    Posted by Rachael | June 8, 2012, 23:04
  5. Young students, eh? Oh to stay forever young! You think your idealistic way of thinking will change the world and genuinely believe that if you unite with those of similar heart and mind you could be unstoppable force of change for the better! Then a real bullet puts real life in perspective and unfortunately your real life is over.

    Posted by cmoneyspinner | June 14, 2012, 03:01
  6. This was such an inspiring demonstration of spirit and courage–they deserved so much more than what came of it, but these heroes are blazing the trail and laying the foundation for those who follow.

    Posted by Naomi Baltuck | June 14, 2012, 08:22
  7. Reblogged this on China Daily Mail.

    Posted by China Daily Mail | June 24, 2012, 21:15
  8. This is a dramatic photo and great way to share the history of China’s most infamous violation of human rights since Mao! Thanks for “liking” my blog comparing the Occupy Movement to the 1968 May Revolution in France – and the “Perils of Turning My Own Era Into Fiction” through my recent novel, “A Time to Cast Away Stones.” For more, visit my website at http://www.elisefmiller.com – with link to my blog.

    Posted by Elise Frances Miller | July 6, 2012, 13:51
  9. Thanks for sharing this dramatic photo – a great way to share the history of China’s most infamous violation of human rights since Mao! And thanks for “liking” my blog comparing the Occupy Movement to the 1968 May Revolution and “Perils of Turning My Own Era into Fiction” – written in relation to my recent novel, “A Time to Cast Away Stones,” set in Berkeley and Paris in 1968. Learn more and find link to my blog at http://www.elisefmiller.com.

    Posted by elisefrancesmiller | July 6, 2012, 13:56


  1. Pingback: The Truth about China’s Economic Woes | Top Secret Writers - June 12, 2012

  2. Pingback: Twenty-five years later, Tiananmen Square no less taboo for China’s censors | China Daily Mail - April 17, 2014

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