Published on January 1st, 20131
Bloodbath in Beijing (Vintage Newsreel – 1989)
On June 4, China’s hope for a transition to democracy was crushed. Tanks, armed vehicles and trucks carrying tens of thousands of soldiers made their way to Tianmen Square in the center of Beijing. Those who stood in the way were killed.
It all started on April 15, when Hu Yaobang died by heart attack. He was the secretary general of the Communist Party, but was replaced in January 1987 due to his liberal political views. His death marked the beginning of a serious political crisis in China. Students went on hunger strike, and were joined by civil servants and workers, demanding the removal of the leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng Xioaping.
The first student-led demonstrations started on April 17. At its peak, the protests included almost two million people. On May 19th martial law was declared. Masses of people gathered in the Tianmen Square to protest.
On the night of June 3, tanks rolled through the streets of Bejing. According to the Chinese Red Cross 2600 persons were killed and 10,000 injured after the army advanced on the demonstrators. Bystanders were shot and killed. The people’s rebellion was crushed, and the Chinese Movement for Democracy suffered a new setback.
The man who gave the orders for the demonstration to be crushed was Deng Xiaoping. He stated that the economic liberalization would continue, but was not going to be accompanied by political openness. The future thus looks bleak for the state of Chinese democracy.