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25 photos from the bloody 1989 protests that China wants you to forget

The protests began in April of 1989, after the death of ousted General Secretary Hu Yaobang.

25 photos from the bloody 1989 protests that China wants you to forget
DefenseDefense1 min read

Many saw Hu as a reformer. He had the support of students, who wanted the Chinese government to continue his pro-market and pro-democracy policies.

Many saw Hu as a reformer. He had the support of students, who wanted the Chinese government to continue his pro-market and pro-democracy policies.

Following Hu's official state funeral, some 100,000 students gathered in the Beijing's central square.

Following Hu

An anti-protest editorial in People's Daily on April 26 enraged the students further.

An anti-protest editorial in People

By May 13, a hunger strike had begun and the crowd had grown to 300,000 people.

By May 13, a hunger strike had begun and the crowd had grown to 300,000 people.

Martial Law was declared on May 20.

Martial Law was declared on May 20.

The People's Liberation Army (China's military) marched on Beijing, only to withdraw a few days later. Protesters would lecture the soldiers, asking them to join their cause.

The People

The student protest became split around this time, with no clear leader.

The student protest became split around this time, with no clear leader.

But the students and their supporters were clearly occupying Beijing's central square.

But the students and their supporters were clearly occupying Beijing

They even unloaded a 30-foot styrofoam statue, modeled on the Statue of Liberty, in the square.

They even unloaded a 30-foot styrofoam statue, modeled on the Statue of Liberty, in the square.

Protestors mocked government "bribes" for pro-government marches.

Protestors mocked government "bribes" for pro-government marches.

Troops began clearing the square at the start of June.

Troops began clearing the square at the start of June.

Protesters resisted.

Protesters resisted.

Most were unarmed but some had rocks and other weapons.

Most were unarmed but some had rocks and other weapons.

Violence erupted.

Violence erupted.

Officially, 241 people died.

Officially, 241 people died.

(Source: PBS)

Other numbers, ranging into the thousands, have circulated, with none confirmed. Many of the deaths happened outside the square, with soldiers firing directly at unarmed protesters.

Other numbers, ranging into the thousands, have circulated, with none confirmed. Many of the deaths happened outside the square, with soldiers firing directly at unarmed protesters.

(Source: PBS)

Many more were injured.

Many more were injured.

The iconic footage of a man standing up to a PLA tank occurred the next day.

The iconic footage of a man standing up to a PLA tank occurred the next day.

This shot shows the man from another angle. He was reportedly whisked aside by onlookers, but it was unclear what became of him or who he was.

This shot shows the man from another angle. He was reportedly whisked aside by onlookers, but it was unclear what became of him or who he was.

(Source: PBS)

Tens of thousands of people were arrested after the protests, and an unknown number were likely executed.

Tens of thousands of people were arrested after the protests, and an unknown number were likely executed.

(Source: PBS)

Officially China still tries to ignore the legacy of the event, with searches on the popular Chinese microblogging site Weibo banned today.

Officially China still tries to ignore the legacy of the event, with searches on the popular Chinese microblogging site Weibo banned today.

(Source: BI)

Around this time last year, five Chinese dissidents testified before U.S. lawmakers about the horror of seeing friends shot dead 25 years ago.

Around this time last year, five Chinese dissidents testified before U.S. lawmakers about the horror of seeing friends shot dead 25 years ago.

(Source: USA Today)

Other Chinese people remember the massacre as it was filtered through the country's state-run TV stations.

Other Chinese people remember the massacre as it was filtered through the country

(Source: New York Times)

The novelist Murong Xuecun has written that China's president President Xi Jinping may be more paranoid than those who came before him.

The novelist Murong Xuecun has written that China

(Source: New York Times)

Despite the paranoia on mainland China, there were still relatively robust protests in Hong Kong last year. "We will never forget the Tiananmen massacre, because until now there's been no justice," one woman reportedly said while marching through Hong Kong.

Despite the paranoia on mainland China, there were still relatively robust protests in Hong Kong last year. "We will never forget the Tiananmen massacre, because until now there

(Source: ABC Radio)

Now check out all the words vaguely related to Tiananmen Square.

Now check out all the words vaguely related to Tiananmen Square.
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