Monday, June 4, 2012

Remember Tiananmen Square...

Today marks the anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square... 

During the late 1970s, the Chinese leadership abandoned planned collectivist economics, and embraced market-based reforms. The result was inflation, limited career prospects for students and corruption of the party elite. 
In 1989 the death of the Communist Party General Secretary, Hu Yaobang, triggered mass gatherings and protests. Half a million protesters assembled at Tiananmen Square at the peak of the movement (without any social media to assist the call) and the largely student-run demonstrations aimed for continued economic reform, freedom of the press, and political liberalization. 
The movement lasted for about seven weeks with the government initially attempting to appease the protesters through concessions. However a student-led hunger strike galvanized support for the demonstrators around the country.The movement lasted from 15 April to 4 June.
On 20 May martial law was declared and military convoys entered Beijing with strict orders to clear the Square by dawn. The exact number of civilian deaths remains unknown and estimates range from several hundred to thousands.

The haunting image of the lone man facing the column of tanks head on, in the empty square, bears testament that, 'the most powerful weapon is the human soul on fire'.

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