Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

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Tiananmen Square as seen from the Tiananmen Gate in 2004.

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 is the name for a series of protests that occurred in April and June of that year. China refers to them as the June Fourth Incident, most of the world calls it the Tiananmen Square massacre. There were other protests on Tiananmen square in 1919 and 1976. The protests of 1989 were organised by different groups of students, intellectuals and labour activists. There was no common cause or leadership in the protests; most protesters did not like the way the Communist party of China ran the economy, though.[1] Some people also wanted a change towards more democracy.[2] Most people protested on Tianmen Square in Beijing, but some also did in other cities, like Shanghai. The protests in cities other than Beijing stayed peaceful.

On June 4, the government forcefully dissolved the protests. This left many people injured or dead. The exact number is not known today, different people have different numbers. The Chinese government speaks about 200-300 victims, the New York Times says there were between 300 and 800 and the Chinese Red Cross talks about 2,000 - 3,000.

The official Chinese position on the events was that the protests needed to be dispersed in order not to harm the stability of the country.

Many of the scenes were shown around the world over western media (the most famous image is that showing a man standing in front of a file of tanks in the middle of the square).

A memorial in the Polish city of Wrocław depicting a destroyed bicycle and a tank track is a symbol of the Tiananmen Square protests

As said before, the cause of the protests was the corruption of the Communist Party then and, over all, the economic politics that the Government were taking during the previous ten years, which, although helped in some way the level of life for farmers and people who lived in the countryside, was awful for intellectuals, students, and industrial workers, who feared the unemployment rising and social problems.

It is said this was one of the largest specific-purposed, overcrowded demonstrations that have been in all modern history.

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