• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:10am
Infographics ANNIVERSARY

Voices from Tiananmen: Eyewitnesses look back to the spring of 1989

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 12:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 September, 2014, 9:35am


June 4, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of a brutal military crackdown on pro-democracy protests led by students and residents in Beijing. Hundreds of people were killed and many more were wounded when People's Liberation Army units rolled into Tiananmen Square, ending more than a month of peaceful protests seeking political reforms.

Former government officials, student leaders and other eyewitnesses revisit the momentous events of spring, 1989. These personal accounts, gathered from recent video interviews, as well as memoirs, shed new light on the hope and despair left by those days, which continue to haunt China a quarter century later.

Click here to access the 13-part multimedia series


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It is a sad reflection that the comments are so insensitive to feelings of those who were slaughtered. There is plenty of information on the net that covers what happened. I suggest that people catch Sky News on NOWTV as they are discussing the very fact that the young man who so bravely stood in front of the tank did so putting his life in peril in the process and when the tanks first rolled in. Guys, you are showing your lack of awareness and education here in doubting that the western press is incorrect. You are making the point why we need to defend freedom of education from mainland interference!
Jonathan Smith
Very few communists would say "It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice". In today's world like Snowden it you tell the truth the US will have your hide. The people of HK should realise that the Anglos have never been friends of the Chinese people, opium war, colonisation lies about everything. Of course when ideology was important the Chinese made terrible mistakes. But they wisely abandoned useless ideology and opted for scientific and logical thinking. Now a days, it is only in the US that ideology is important which is why you have had countless wars and mass murder by the US and her allies. Shinzo Abe just can't wait to discard Japan's peace constitution in order to take part in the mass murder and profit from it. So people of HK on June 4 anniversary better watch out about who your real friends are and it's certainly not the Anglos or Japos.
@ejmciii : "the more we give into the communists"............etc. etc.
Which "communists" are these?
There are few, if any, 'communists' left in China, so I suppose you must be referring the band of loony anarchists in Hong Kong, who term themselves "democrats".
The names of long-established political parties can be awfully misleading Dear. Unfortunately people like you, who have been brainwashed by the right-wing controlled Western media, will never be capable of understanding this!
Suggest you stick to the "Young" section of the SCMP
Jonathan Smith
The US is capable of shooting unarmed students too. The Kent State shootings (also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre) occurred at Kent State University in the US city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. Why condemn Tiananmen without condemning the Kent State Massacre. Why the double standards?
A Kuro
See the post by J Cheng.
According to Gregory Clark, a former Australian diplomat, the Tiananmen Massacre was a myth and the lies continues to this day.
From the article by Gregory Clark it seems the truth about Tiananmen in June 4 1989 is more than what we have been told so far by the Western press. The credibility of the Western press is really questionable.
Gregory Clark made the following comments " Other strange details later to emerge included a report that Reuters, the British new agency, refused to publish a photo of a charred corpse strung up under an overpass — a photo that would have done much to explain what had happened. And we now discover that the widely distributed photo of Tankman — the lone student standing before a row of army tanks and heavily publicised as showing brave defiance against a cruel regime — was in fact taken the day after Tiananmen events, and the tanks were moving away from, and not into, Tiananmen Square."
Obviously the truth about Tiananmen is not being told!
I Gandhi
Interesting to note that the widely distributed photo of Tankman — the lone student standing before a row of army tanks and heavily publicised as showing brave defiance against a cruel regime — was in fact taken the day after Tiananmen events, and the tanks were moving away from, and not into, Tiananmen Square.
Well CCP is just saying Forget, Forget,Forget. U never get an closure or forgivnes when u just try to hide and censor your mistakes and wrongdoings.
This is the dumbest question asked in one form or another by airhead readers: "Why can't China let its people and the world know the truth about Tiananmen?"
For such morons, I have a few more stupid ones in store for you.
Why doesn't the US come clean with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 that booted Chinese immigrants out of America?
Why doesn't the US acknowledge the pretext used in 1964 for bombing the Gulf of Tonkin -- attack on its two destroyers -- was fabricated? USS Turner Joy radar system wasn’t even working that day. The war killed over 3 million Vietnamese.
Answer: This is the way all governments work. Why just pick on China?
Why did the Church not own up that Galileo inquisition was wrong? It finally did, after almost 400 years.
Many teach children lies everyday that make them stupid. Could 5 loaves and two fish feed 5000? You should challenge that too.
Here is likely most the truth about 6/4. Beijing rioters, not just students’ protesters, posted an existential threat to the nation, now under a divided Party. People’s livelihoods were not much improved since the Red Guards. China was at a lower industrial base than India's. The commander of the 38th Army even refused to order his soldiers into Beijing streets. Many CCP leaders had different opinions. There was no clear consensus on how to restore law and order. Fortunately, Deng Xiaoping gave the order.
It was the only right decision. China is here to stay and will prosper.
You do realize that this is common knowledge that was/is discussed openly. Popular songs were released condemning it weeks after the event.
Even 25 years after Tienanmen, no matter what happened, you can be arrested for discussing the event. I don't know where you heard that Americans ignore/have no knowledge/approve of Kent State.
(continued) Readers with nothing but hatred for China and Chinese are losers. Despite serious corruptions, pollution, inefficient systems and processes, China is here to stay and prosper.