It has now been 32 years of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. On June 4 and June 5 in 1989 Chinese government ordered a fierce military counterattack on the student-led protest. The government crackdown injured thousands of protesters which included mainly students, workers, and officials. The brutal assassination and imprisonment of the people involved in the revolution shocked the whole world. China went through international condemnation for a ruthless strike on its own citizens.
Commencement of the gathering at Tiananmen Square
The protest likely initiated with the death of Hu Yaobang, a Chinese Communist Party Leader, on April 15, 1989. Mainly students and low-class workers appreciated Hu for his fight against nepotism and corruption. Moreover, he championed for a more democratic government to bring about greater freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
To honor Yaobang, supporters gathered at Martyr’s Monument in Tiananmen Square, the heart of the capital Beijing. Located in the heart of the capital, Beijing, Tiananmen Square has enormous importance in China. The Square faced the Great Hall of the people thereby becoming the choice for the upcoming demonstrations. The mourning gathering turned to the public outcry against the repressive government with the increase in people day by day from 18-21 April. The seed of revolution spread across other cities and universities throughout China against a repressive government.
The gathering fueled up by 22 April on the day of Hu’s memorial. The leaders of the ongoing struggle drafted a list of demands and requested meeting the then Premier, Li Peng. In contrast, the political leaders turned a blind eye to the situation. Then, the article published under the influence of Deng Xiaoping accused the demonstrators as anti-Communists. This further angered the students and led many of them to carry out hunger strikes with agenda of political reforms.
Zhao Ziyang made a final attempt for a compromise but failed miserably. “We have come too late” was a highlighted sentence from his speech at Tiananmen Square before the protestors.
Involvement of troops to halt the protest
The following day, Martial law is declared in different areas of Beijing. The government moved troops into the protest areas. While the civilians created barriers on the road to block the military vehicles. The soldiers setback at that time.
Despite the troops, the demonstrations went the opposite way. The leaders then deemed the protest a political threat. Ultimately, the government leaders agreed to end the demonstrations by force.
Finally, battalions of PLA soldiers moved towards Tiananmen Square on June 3. The army clashed with the civilians who opposed them on the streets. The clash quickly turned into a bloodbath after the soldiers opened fire into the crowd. The people rushed the injured to hospitals in bicycles and rickshaws. After a night of bloodshed, the troops succeeded in emptying the Square.
The resilience and sturdiness of the civilians brought them back into the street the next day. With the rise in tensions, soldiers gun them down once again. The leaders acclaimed the military act as a triumph against riots and criminals. An editorial was published with a warning to punish the lawless people leading political unrest. The authorities proudly claimed no civilian was killed by the army. There is not much information about the exact death counts. Although, the estimates range from 700 to thousands. The protest leaders found by the army were either executed or imprisoned. The ones fortunate enough to escape the soldiers at Tiananmen Square had to flee the country. There were no reports or investigations on the Tiananmen Square Massacre by the government-controlled media and agencies.
However, footage of a man blocking a tank is widespread on the internet. The man repeatedly blocks the chain of tanks probably heading towards Tiananmen Square.
How far has China gone to hide the Tiananmen Square Massacre
The startling countermeasures taken by the Chinese Government towards their own people brought denunciations from around the world. But as of today, the face of Tiananmen Square is completely changed. Being a popular tourist area, the place does not reflect any memory of the past. China has accomplished much in erasing the black day from its history. An article in BBC claims the government has gone to the lengths of regularly removing the massacre posts from the internet. The recent generation who are unaware of the event is strong evidence of that. The world has not witnessed any public memorials of that event in the last years.