Tiananmen Square Protests 1989 (Beijing, China)

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese, were student-led demonstrations and received broad support from city residents, exposing deep splits within China’s political leadership. The protests were forcibly suppressed with a crackdown that initiated on June 3–4 became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre as troops with assault rifles and tanks inflicted thousands of casualties on unarmed civilians trying to block the military’s advance on Tiananmen Square, which student demonstrators had occupied for seven weeks. The scale of military mobilization and the resulting bloodshed were unprecedented in the history of Beijing, a city with a rich tradition of popular protests in the 20th century. The unknown protester stood in front of tanks the day after and achieved widespread international recognition due to the videotape and photographs taken of the incident.