On June 5, thirty-one years ago, a man faced down a line of tanks heading away from the square. But why? As talks relating to the series of events are regularly censored by the government, there is little awareness as to what happened even among many of the chinese.
In the 1980s, the ruling Communist Party began to allow private companies and foreign investment. This led to a division of the Communist Party into those urging more freedom and hardliners wanting to maintain strict state control. In the mid-1980s, student-led protests started and by spring 1989, the protestors started calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China. Eventually over one million protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square for the protests. The Tiananmen square is one of Beijing’s most known landmarks.
Initially the ruling government ignored the protestors. However, as a consequence to the exponentially growing attention for the protestors, the Communists declared martial law in Beijing during the last two weeks of May. On June 3, troops began to move towards Tiananmen Square, crushing, opening fire, and arresting protesters to regain control.
UK documents reveal that 10,000 died in the massacre as per the then British Ambassador to China, Sir Alan Donald. However, the Chinese communist government had earlier stated that only 200 civilians had died.
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