The Tiananmen Square protests, known by the euphemism June Fourth Incident in China, were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing during 1989.
The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China. They were halted in a bloody crackdown, known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, by the Chinese government on June 4 and 5, 1989.
Pro-democracy protesters, mostly students, initially marched through Beijing to Tiananmen Square following the death of Hu Yaobang. Hu, a former Communist Party leader, had worked to introduce democratic reform in China. In mourning Hu, the students called for a more open, democratic government. Eventually thousands of people joined the students in Tiananmen Square, with the protest’s numbers increasing to the tens of thousands by mid-May.
Who was Tank Man?
On 5 June, a man faced down a line of tanks heading away from the square.
He was carrying two shopping bags and was filmed walking to block the tanks from moving past.
He was pulled away by two men.
It’s not known what happened to him but he’s become the defining image of the protests.
Hundreds gather in Taiwan to mark Tiananmen Square anniversary
China bans any public commemoration of the event on the mainland, making Taiwan the only part of the Chinese-speaking world where it can be remembered openly.
“It’s a symbol of how democracy is precious and fragile at the same time, and how people who care about democracy need to stand up for it or else authoritarians everywhere will think people don’t care,” said the author Jeremy Chiang, 27, who attend the event in Taipei’s Liberty Square.
“To remember is to resist,” the prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao said. “If no one remembers, the suffering of the people will never stop and the perpetrators will continue their crimes with impunity.”
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, decried the “collective memory of 4 June being systematically erased in Hong Kong”.
“But we believe that such brute force cannot erase people’s memories,” she posted on her Facebook and Instagram pages.