Tiananmen Square 24th Anniversary: Remember The Failed 'Chinese Spring' With These Iconic Photos

Tiananmen Square China

Today is the 24th Anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China¬†which saw hundreds of thousands of students occupying Beijing’s central square, and ultimately resulted in hundreds, perhaps thousands of deaths (the number is disputed).

On the 24rd anniversary of the crisis, we look back at some of the iconic photos the event produced. 

The protests began on April 15th, after the death of ousted General Secretary Hu Yaobang.

Hu had widely been seen as reformer and was supported by students, who wanted the Chinese government to continue his pro-market and pro-democracy policies.

Following Hu's official state funeral, some 100,000 students gathered in the Beijing's central square.

An anti-protest editorial in People's Daily on April 26 enraged the students further.

By May 13, a hunger strike had begun and there were some 300,000 people in the square.

Marshall Law was declared on May 20.

The PLA marched on Beijing, only to withdraw a few days later. Protestors would lecture the soldiers, asking them to join their cause.

The student protest became split around this time, with no clear leader.

But the students and their supporters were clearly occupying Beijing's central square.

They even unloaded a 30-foot styrofoam statue, modelled on the Statue of Liberty, in the square.

Troops began clearing the square at the start of June.

Violence erupted.

Officially, 241 people died.

(Source: PBS)

Other numbers, ranging into the thousands, have circulated, with none confirmed. Many of the deaths happened outside the square, with soldiers firing directly at unarmed protesters.

(Source: PBS)

The iconic footage of a man standing up to a PLA tank occurred the next day.

This shot shows the man from another angle. He was reportedly whisked aside by onlookers, but it was unclear what became of him or who he was.

(Source: PBS)

Tens of thousands of people are arrested after the protests, an unknown number were likely executed.

(Source: PBS)

Officially China still tries to ignore the legacy of the event, with searches on Weibo banned today.

(Source: BI)

The country has responded sternly to a statement from the US asking it to free prisoners still being held because of the protests.

(Source: CNN)

Many still remember, however. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong today to commemorate those who lost their lives.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Some wonder if scandals involving Bo Xilai and Chen Guangcheng points towards another period of turmoil coming for China.

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