Tiananmen Square ‘Massacre’ Timeline: How Chinese Army ‘Killed’ Student Demonstration [Slideshow]

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | June 5, 2014 10:39 AM EST

Thousands of people held a candlelight memorial in Honk Kong to remember the Tiananmen Square "massacre" on June 4, 1989. It is distinctly apparent that Chinese authorities seek to rub the day off history books. The Independent reported that police had flooded the streets around the Square in Beijing to make sure there was no vigil. Even the Internet has been scrutinised to whitewash any kind of defiance. The Chinese government never released an official estimation of how many people were killed after policemen fired at innocent protesters. However, unofficial estimates reveal that there were several hundred to thousands. Here is the timeline of one of the darkest days of democracy.

April 15, 1989

Former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang, who has been instrumental in democratic reform in the country, passes away.

April 18, 1989

Thousands of students gather at the Tiananmen Square. They ask for more democratic government. Thousands of others join them in the coming weeks to protest against the Communist government.

May 13, 1989

More than a hundred students start a hunger strike at the Square. In the coming weeks, the number of people doing a hunger strike increase to several thousand.

May 19, 1989

Around 1.2 million people hold a rally at the Square. Zhao Ziyang, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, attends the rally and requests the protesters to end the demonstrations. "You must live healthy, and see the day when China accomplishes the four modernisations," he tells them. Later that day, Chairman of the Central Military Commission Deng Xiaoping decides to remove Ziyang from his position. Martial law is imposed in the country.

June 1, 1989

U.S. news channels including CNN are interrupted in Beijing. Reporters are banned from taking photos or videos of any form of demonstrations.

June 2, 1989

Singer Hou Dejian holds a concert at the Square in support of the protesting students. Around 100,000 people join him.

June 3, 1989

Residents are warned over the state-run TV channels to stay indoors. People get out on the street despite the warning. The 38th Army opens fire on public at around 10 o'clock at night. Song Xiaoming, 32, becomes the first confirmed fatality.

June 4, 1989

2 am: The 38th, 27th, 65th and 24th Armies surround thousands of protesters at the Square and fire at their head.

3:30 am: Protesters get ready to negotiate with soldiers after "too many lives" are lost.

4 am: Lights at the Square are turned off. "Clearance of the Square begins now. We agree with students' request to clear the Square," the government loudspeaker says.

June 5, 1989

A solitary man stands in front of a fleet of tanks driving off the Square and asks them to go back. He is immortalised as a symbol of protest with the name of "The Tank Man." The identity of the man is still anonymous.

June 12, 1989

TIME publishes photographs of the bloody massacre. "The tremors will be felt for years," it wrote.

April 2011

The Square gets renovated and remains open to the public. No mention of the crackdown is included.


Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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