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In the weeks leading up to June 3, 1989 tens of thousands of students massed in Beijing’s enormous central square, drawn together by the death of liberal Communist Party figure Hu Yaobang and their collective desire for significant and immediate change. They wanted their hard-line leaders to yield and reform.
They wanted a free, fairer China. For China’s communist rulers it was a great affront to their authority. A provocation. They answered with soldiers, tanks and wholesale slaughter. “We went to see the two major student leaders and that’s when one told us crying that that night the soldiers would come, that there would be a lot of bloodshed, that a lot of people would die.” PETER EVERETT Defence Attaché, Australian Embassy Beijing, 1989. A lot of people did die. Precisely how many, we’ll never know. And to this day many Chinese themselves don’t even know the massacre took place. Despite the warp-speed advances in China’s economy and — to a limited extent — its openness, Tiananmen is still an officially forbidden subject. Until now the collective perspectives of Australia’s witnesses to Tiananmen have pretty much stayed under wraps as well. But in this extraordinarily revealing Foreign Correspondent key Embassy staffers have assembled for the first time to give their accounts of what happened.
ABC Australia – Ref 6149
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Each year thousands of people in Hong Kong, China, gather on June 4 to commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre with a candlelight vigil. On that day in 1989, Chinese government tanks rolled into Beijing‘s Tiananman Square, killing hundreds of demonstrators calling for democratic reforms in China, and injuring 10,000 more. Since 1997, the Chinese government has discouraged the Hong Kong commemorations and pressured foreign news correspondents not to cover the yearly event. In the year 2002 about 45,000 people attended the vigil. More… Discuss