Today, June 4, marks the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre that left as many as a few thousand people dead when the Chinese Communist Party ordered the military to take out pro-democracy protests.
In the spring of 1989, hundreds of thousands of Beijing residents took to the streets with hopes of reform, protesting corruption within the ruling regime and other governance issues. This movement spread through 80 cities and involved an estimated 100 million people.
Then on June 4, 1989, possibly thousands of idealistic young people demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, calling for democracy, and were gunned down by the communist party.
The regime cracked down on demonstrators after weeks of protests from pro-democracy activists, and it exposed a deep rift within the Communist Party’s leadership. Hardline Party leaders ordered the military to implement martial law before going after protesters in Beijing.
Here are a few old photos showing the pro-democracy protesters and the ensuing crackdown in 1989: