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Edel Rodriguez
20 years ago
posted:
Today marked 20 years since the historic day in Tiananmen Square.  The image of the Tank Man is remembered by everyone.  Most of the people I grew up with in Cuba wanted to do things like this but it was very difficult to muster the courage, knowing what the result would be.  For this reason, this image has special resonance for me.  Please read more about the image at the New York Times site here.  A unique, never released photo of the scene from a different angle is on their site here.  Below, I've added a number of images I've done on the subject of Communist China over the years.

"The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 culminating in the Tiananmen Square massacre (referred to in China as the June 4 Incident, to avoid confusion with two other Tiananmen Square protests) were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China (PRC) beginning on April 14. Led mainly by students and intellectuals, the protests occurred in a year that saw the collapse of a number of communist governments around the world.

The protests were sparked by the death of a pro-market, pro-democracy, and anti-corruption official, Hu Yaobang, whom protesters wanted to mourn. By the eve of Hu's funeral, 1,000,000 people had gathered on the Tiananmen square. The protests lacked a unified cause or leadership; participants included disillusioned Communist Party members and Trotskyists as well as free market reformers, who were generally against the government's authoritarianism and voiced calls for economic change and democratic reform within the structure of the government. The demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, but large-scale protests also occurred in cities throughout China, including Shanghai, which remained peaceful throughout the protests.

The movement lasted seven weeks, from Hu's death on April 15 until tanks cleared Tiananmen Square on June 4. In Beijing, the resulting military response to the protesters by the PRC government left many civilians dead or severely injured. The number of deaths is not known and many different estimates exist.  There were early reports of Chinese Red Cross sources giving a figure of 2,600 deaths, but the Chinese Red Cross has denied ever doing so. The official Chinese government figure is 241 dead, including soldiers, and 7,000 wounded.

Following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress protesters and their supporters, cracked down on other protests around China, banned the foreign press from the country and strictly controlled coverage of the events in the PRC press. Members of the Party who had publicly sympathized with the protesters were purged, with several high-ranking members placed under house arrest, such as General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the PRC government.
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