Paved open space in central Beijing (Peking), China, the largest public square in the world (area 0.4 sq km/0.14 sq mi). On 3-4 June 1989 more than 1,000 unarmed protesters were killed by government troops in a massacre that crushed China's emerging pro-democracy movement.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators had occupied the square from early May, calling for political reform and the resignation of the communist leadership. They were led by students, 3,000 of whom staged a hunger strike in the square. The massacre that followed was sanctioned by the old guard of leaders, including Deng Xiaoping. See also China, Tiananmen Square massacre.
Tenth anniversary of the massacre
China prepared for the tenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings by blocking access to some Internet sites and closing some foreign television channels. In an unprecedented legal action, an underground network of families who lost relatives in the massacre submitted evidence to a Chinese court demanding a criminal investigation into the role played by troops and officials. While the action's chances of success in Peking were slim, the organization would pledge simultaneously to champion it in the international courts.
While security forces on the Chinese mainland ensured there would be no mass gathering to commemorate the Tiananmen anniversary, officials in Hong Kong did nothing to stop the traditional rally marking the event. The Hong Kong government was committed to introducing antisubversion legislation, but it was proceeding with caution because of the backlash such laws would provoke.
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