The Tiananmen Square Anniversary

Tiananmen sentry hill

Every year, Chinese people remember the Tiananmen Square anniversary on the 4th of June. They gather at Tiananmen Square to light a candle in the memory of over 600 Chinese people (according to the Chinese government) who died on 4th June 1989 while protesting against the government. This event is also known as June Fourth Incident where Chinese protestors, led by students, to obtain democracy. It was a valiant effort but the students would fail in the end. The government would send out a host of troops, tanks, and other military units to crush the uprising.

These protests began on April 15 and would continue through June until the day of the massacre. The government would impose martial law and dispatch a portion of the National Army to suppress this call for freedom and liberty. While the official estimates of the deaths note that it is around seven hundred people, it could range up to the thousands. Much like with COVID-19, one would never know the actual death toll that took place within the Chinese borders.

Even more were rumored to be wounded during the incident. While the ’89 Democracy Movement quickly came to a chaotic close, there have been several protests in places such as Hong Kong, pushing back against CCP aggression.

What Was the Tiananmen Incident?

A million young Chinese people May 1989, gathered on the roads of Beijing to protest for democracy. They demanded resignation from communist party leaders. Now how did all of this start?

A leader of the communist party Hu Yaobang gave a statement in which he said that Chinese people should get more rights to speak in government matters. His idea attracted many young students who later started supporting him and protested on their campus, which resulted in Hu Yaobang losing his job.

Hu Yaobang would promptly die on the 15th of April in 1989. Thousands of students attended his memorial service. To mourn him, the students decided to go to Tiananmen Square, which later converted into a big protest against the government.

Martial Law Due to The Democracy Movement

When the protest didn’t stop (it had spread across 400 cities of China) even after a specific warning from the government, Premier Li Peng declared martial law (that’s when the situation goes beyond the control of the local government, so the military has to step in to deal with the citizens). 

The army fired thousands of rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters.

The CCP government gave all the rights to the military (3rd June 1989) to use all the techniques to stop the protest. Therefore, the army attacked students with live bullets and tanks.

Tiananmen Square Anniversary 2021

This year marks the 32nd Tiananmen Square anniversary. Unfortunately, it seems as if the situation in China has become much worse over time. While it seems as if the country is economically thriving, the nation still imposes an extremely authoritarian environment that continues to crush dissenters by any means necessary.

China has discouraged people from recognizing this event and recent photos note how attendance in or around this area has significantly declined due to the potential repercussions.

Some significant steps taken by the Chinese government to discourage recognizing this event and repeating are present below.

  • Police have blocked Hong Kong Park.
  • They arrested Vigils’ organizer as well.
  • No one is allowed to protest.
  • According to the law passed in 2020, it’s easier to punish protesters this year and impose further fines and jail time. 100 people are arrested since the law’s passage.

Many steps have been taken by the Chinese government in order to prevent people from gathering to commemorate the anniversary. The Chinese people still light the candles in their homes. They think it’s their right to remember the Tiananmen Square massacre. They are quite right to recognize the light of freedom and to continue to dissent against their authentically authoritarian regime.