Tiananmen Square massacre

The Tiananmen Square massacre was an example of loss of human rights in China. It happened in 1989 where thousands of students who were part of the China’s pro-democracy movement, camped in the Square for seven weeks in late May and early June, refusing to move until their demands for democratic reform were met.

The protests were sparked by the death of a pro-democracy and anti-corruption official, Hu Yaobang, whom protesters wanted to mourn. By the eve of Hu's funeral, 1,000,000 people had gathered at Tiananmen Square. The protests lacked a unified cause or leadership; participants included disillusioned Communist Party of China members and Trotskyists as well as free market reformers, who were generally against the government's authoritarianism and voiced calls for economic change and democratic reform within the structure of the government.

The march began with students who were protesting for the rights to free speech and a free press, and even erected a symbolic Statue of Liberty named the “Goddess of Democracy.” They wanted human rights and freedom, similar to the Americans and the other audiences around the world. However, as the days passed, millions of people from all walks of life joined in, angered by the widespread corruption of the government and calling for democracy.

Even though violence was expected to curb the protest, the ferocity of the attack took many by surprise, bringing condemnation from around the world. This hopeful demonstration came to a sudden and horrifying end. On the night of 3 June and into the early morning hours of 4 June, the army launched an assault on the unarmed civilians in the Square. They stormed the area with tanks and machine guns, firing into the crowd at random. Several hundred civilians have been shot dead by the Chinese army during a bloody military operation to crush a democratic protest in Peking's (Beijing) Tiananmen Square. Tanks rumbled through the capital's streets late on 3 June as the army moved into the square from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters. The injured were rushed to hospital on bicycle rickshaws by frantic residents shocked by the army's sudden and extreme response to the peaceful mass protest.

Hundreds of young students were killed and thousands wounded in the attack. Scenes of brutality and chaos were broadcast from Tiananmen Square, and there were reports of students and civilians being imprisoned in other parts of China. Despite being in a dangerous situation, students were still protesting for democracy and human rights. Amid the panic and confusion, students could be heard shouting “fascists stop killing,” and “down with the government”. At a nearby children’s hospital, operating theatres were filled with casualties with gunshot wounds, many of them were local residents who were not taking part in the protests. At least 30 were killed in two volleys of gunfire, which came without warning. Terrified crowds fled, leaving bodies in the road. Troops continued to search the main Beijing university campus for ringleaders, beating and killing those they suspected of co-ordinating the protests.

The Chinese government attempted at censorship, but the cruel and brutal images broadcasted from Tiananmen Square cannot be erased from the public memory. Few who watched the coverage will never forget the sight of a lone student standing defiantly against a column of army tanks, or soldiers clubbing demonstrators until they were bloody and lifeless, or the panic-stricken faces of the people in the Square. Although the Chinese government would like to strike Tiananmen Square from the record books, television has insured that its lessons will be taught for many years to come

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