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Massacre in Tiananmen Square, China

1989

Tiananmen Square massacre

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  • Intro

    On 4 June 1989, the Chinese army used gunfire to break up a peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square, wounding and killing many hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators; an accurate figure will probably never be known. The protest began when students, intellectuals and other members of the public gathered in Tiananmen Square to mourn the death of pro-democracy official Hu Yaobang, and then remained to protest, occupying the square for seven weeks.

     

    The iconic photograph taken by Jeff Widener, and published here in the Daily Mirror on 6 June 1989, is of an unknown man who risked his life demanding democratic reform in front of tanks belonging to China’s People’s Liberation Army. Sometimes known as ‘Tank Man’, the protester’s identity has never been verified and some believe that he was executed for his actions. Following the massacre, China found its relationship with America and European powers much damaged. Policies implemented at the time, such as an arms embargo, are still in force today. Whilst personal freedom has increased in the 21st century, China is still vehemently opposed to democratic reform and the events at Tiananmen Square are subject to media censorship.

     

    Image Copyright: John Frost Newspaper Archive

     

    Shelfmark: British Library Newspaper Archive

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