Tiananmen Square has been the site of a number of political protest and historical events over the years. These include the May Fourth Movement in 1919; the start of the People’s Republic of China by Mao Ze-dong on October 1, 1949; the 1984 military parade for the 35th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, the 50th anniversary in 1999, and the 60th anniversary in 2009; and the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989.
The protests of 1989 resulted in the slaughter of Chinese student protesters in the streets to the west of Tiananmen Square. PLA soldiers opened live fire on protesters, killing up to 800. This was the scene for the iconic image of “Tank Man”, where a column of Peoples Liberation Army tanks was stopped by a protester.
Today it is one of the main tourist areas to see in Beijing. It is an iconic place to the Communist Party and also to the protesters who died trying to change the system. The local crackdowns are evident as I had to wait in a long security line to enter the square. Posters and signs are strictly forbidden. Security has definitely stepped up since my visit last year to Tiananmen.
Click here for video footage of “Tank Man” To this day nobody knows who this protester was.
Click here to watch the full, shocking, documentary with graphic footage of what happened at Tiananmen Square.