Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, widely known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, in China referred to as the June Fourth Incident to avoid confusion with the two other Tiananmen Square protests, were a series of demonstrations led by labor activists, students, and intellectuals in the People's Republic of China (PRC) between April 15 and June 4, 1989. While the protests lacked a unified cause or leadership, participants were generally against the authoritarianism and economic policies of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and voiced calls for democratic reform within the structure of the government. The demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, but large-scale protests also occurred in cities throughout China, including Shanghai, which stayed peaceful throughout the protests. In Beijing, the resulting military crackdown on the protesters by the PRC government left many civilians dead or injured. The reported tolls ranged from 200–300 (PRC government figures), to 300–800 (The New York Times), and to 2,000–3,000 (Chinese student associations and Chinese Red Cross).

Following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress protesters and their supporters, cracked down on other protests around China, banned the foreign press from the country and strictly controlled coverage of the events in the PRC press. Members of the Party who had publicly sympathized with the protesters were purged, with several high-ranking members placed under house arrest, such as General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the PRC government

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