Tiananmen Square crackdown

Tiananmen Square crackdown

China was gripped by a pro-democracy movement in 1989, triggered by the death of reformist ex-leader Hu Yaobang. Mass street protests, weeks-long sit-ins and hunger strikes at Tiananmen Square by stud

Show more
Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil goes ahead, with a new generation galvanized
Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil gained fresh urgency as people defied a ban to gather on Thursday to remember the 1989 crackdown. In recent years, the organizer of the annual vigil had faced questions about its relevance from young people who dismissed it as naive and idealistic for caring about democratic change over the border in mainland China. But this time, Hong Kong activists put aside such differences in the face of a looming threat: a national security law to be imposed on their city by China’s central government, which could come into effect within weeks. Many feared the law – which Beijing says will “prevent, stop and punish” secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign i
How Hong Kong keeps memories of Tiananmen crackdown alive
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Every year on the evening of June 4, Hongkongers gather in a public park to remember the Tiananmen Square crackdown with songs, flowers and candlelight.  The annual mass memorial has helped people around the world remember the 1989 pro-democracy protests that ended in bloodshed.  The event also symbolizes the unique freedoms Hong Kong enjoys as a special administrative region in China. While the 1989 movement is a taboo topic in mainland China, it can be freely discussed and commemorated publicly in the former British colony.  The event has taken place in
Tiananmen vigil has been banned, but Hongkongers aim to keep the flame alive
The cancellation of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil for the first time in 30 years has upset political exiles, the event’s organizers and faithful participants who say the gathering to remember the bloody 1989 crackdown in Beijing risks being permanently scrubbed from the calendar. Honoring lost lives with white flowers, lit candles, evocative songs and speeches has long been part of the annual vigil at the city’s Victoria Park – the only large-scale public gathering on Chinese soil to commemorate the crackdown, a taboo subject in mainland China but not in Hong Kong. Since 1990, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China has held the vigil in remem
Communist leader purged for opposing Tiananmen crackdown finally laid to rest
The late Chinese Communist Party leader known for his sympathy toward China’s student protesters in 1989 was finally allowed to have his tomb – 14 years after his death.  Former Communist Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang, who in 1989 opposed a military crackdown on the protests, was buried together with his wife on the outskirts of Beijing on Friday, a day after the 100th anniversary of Zhao’s birth.  Friday’s ceremony followed long, drawn-out negotiations between Zhao’s family and the party leadership over a burial site for the former leader, according to one of his sons, Zhao Erjun. Zhao was one of the leaders who pioneered China’s economic reforms, but his name is closely associated w
What former Chinese premier Li Peng will be forever remembered for
Former Chinese premier Li Peng, who has died at 90, will be forever remembered for his controversial role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. He memorably appeared on national television on May 20, 1989, angrily declaring martial law in Beijing. Li is remembered abroad as the “Tiananmen Butcher” for backing the crackdown on student-led protests. Li’s death was reported by China’s official news agency Xinhua on Tuesday evening. In the official obituary, he was described as “a loyal communist warrior” and “an outstanding leader of the Communist Party and the state.” The statement said he died of illness in Beijing on Monday. The obituary heaped lavish praise on the former premier, creditin
Candlelight keeps Tiananmen memories alive
Democracy advocates globally commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, despite Beijing’s continuing efforts to erase memories of the pro-democracy movement. On June 3 to 4, 1989, Chinese troops opened fire on the streets of Beijing as they tried to clear Tiananmen Square and put an end to a nationwide reform movement led by university students. While the Communist Party has suppressed public discussion of the event, witnesses, victims’ families and democracy supporters are trying hard to keep its memory alive. In the former British colony of Hong Kong, tens of thousands joined an annual candlelight vigil on Tuesday night to honor the protesters and condemn Beijing for it
US speaks of ‘dashed hope’ of an open China
America’s top diplomat chastised Beijing on Tuesday over its violent 1989 suppression of demonstrations demanding reform and democracy. The same could be said about the US’ response 30 years ago in the immediate aftermath of the crackdown in central Beijing, where hundreds of civilians were killed as Chinese troops moved to retake Tiananmen Square. The bloodshed quickly prompted economic and political sanctions against China from Western nations. But 30 years later, Beijing has all but given in to pressure to make a full and public accounting of those killed. This is a testament to the Communist Party’s insecurity – and flaws in the assumption that economic integration would loosen the Party
The awkwardness of bringing up Tiananmen in China
On a chilly winter afternoon, Mark and I met at a restaurant in eastern China to talk about something that would make both of us uncomfortable – the massive pro-democracy protests that resulted in a bloody crackdown 30 years ago. It was raining outside, and the German restaurant was quiet after lunchtime. We looked around the place and settled down at a corner seat on the second floor, below a television set that was playing soccer games nonstop. Mark, a 25-year-old who works at an e-commerce company, leaned towards me and murmured: “My dad was protesting at that time.” Mark is not his real name. Like all the other people I spoke to for this article, he agreed to talk about the 1989 Tiananme
Canadian journalist tracks down Chinese protester he filmed 30 years ago
When Canadian journalist Arthur Kent filmed two student protesters on the steps of a monument in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square at about 3am on June 4, 1989, he had no idea who they were. He never found out what became of them, and has spent the last three decades trying to track them down. Last week, Kent finally got hold of one of the two protesters, whom he described as a “young couple” in the footage he shot, which has been newly restored. Kenneth Lam Yiu-keung, a Hong Kong student leader who took tents and funds to Beijing in May 1989 in support of protesters, told the South China Morning Post he was certain the film’s release would help refresh people’s memories of the bloody suppression.
China’s defense chief says the Tiananmen crackdown was ‘correct’
China’s defense minister offered a stern justification of Beijing’s bloody crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement days before its symbolic 30th anniversary. Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Wei Fenghe said the Tiananmen crackdown had contributed to China’s prosperity in a rare public address on the event. “That incident was political turbulence,” he said on Sunday at the annual Asia defense summit, in response to a question from the audience. “The central government’s measures to stop that turbulence was correct. China has enjoyed stable development.” Tuesday marks 30 years since the Chinese military opened fire at protesters in Beijing after demonstrations demanding