| ||World History |
Friday, April 21, 1989. : Student protests in China begin, ultimately leading to the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Tiananmen Square is a large open area in central Beijing, China. The world's largest public square, it contains the monument to the heroes of the revolution, the Great Hall of the People, the museum of history and revolution, and the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. As such, many rallies, protests and demonstrations have been held in the square; the most notorious were, arguably, the student protests of 1989 which led to the Tiananmen Square Massacre on 4 June 1989.
Hu Yaobang, a leader of the People's Republic of China, was a dedicated reformer who was deposed from his position. His ideas of freedom of speech and freedom of press greatly influenced the students. Following his death, approximately 100,000 students gathered at Tiananmen Square on 21 April 1989 to commemorate Hu and protest against China's autocratic communist government. When protestors were denied their demands to meet with Premier Li Peng, students all over China boycotted the universities, marching to Tiananmen Square and calling for democratic reforms. The demonstrators were joined by workers, intellectuals, and civil servants, filling the square with over a million people.
The government declared martial law in Beijing in May, and on 3 June, troops and tanks were sent in to retake the square. On 4 June 1989, between 2,000 and 4,000 students were massacred by the tanks and infantry, although exact figures have never been determined due to suppression by the Chinese government. Many protestors were also arrested and executed in the months following the protests. The event sparked international condemnation of China, and harsh economic sanctions were imposed on China until the nation released some of those who were arrested.