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The 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident

June 4th was the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident, a series of protests and demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square that culminated in a brutal crackdown as heavily armed troops killed hundreds of unarmed demonstrators. In the aftermath thousands of suspected political dissidents were arrested.

In 2019 Britannica’s article about the Tiananmen Square incident was viewed nearly 70,000 times. The article explores the events of June 3–4 as well as the surrounding political climate that led to the incident and the aftermath of the government crackdown.

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The May Fourth Movement

Tiananmen Square was not the only place where protesters demonstrated in China for political and economic reform on that day—and the incident of June 4, 1989, was not the only political event to happen in Tiananmen Square either. The May Fourth Movement, a sociopolitical reform movement of the early 20th century, also hosted historic protests in front of the Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”). That movement would spark the birth of the country’s current ruling party, the Chinese Communist Party.

Thirty years out, the Tiananmen Square incident still holds meaning for political activists around the world. It is important to reflect on as many countries weather changing political climates and divisive policies in 2020 and beyond.

More to Explore

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Tiananmen Square incident: Jeff Widener/AP Images