June 4, 1989: China’s Army Storms Tiananmen Square

On this day in 1989, hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were killed by army troops in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. 

During the spring of 1989, China’s communist regime was threatened by the largest pro-democracy demonstration in the country’s history. After several weeks of failed negotiations to end the protest, the Chinese government authorized nearly 300,000 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to seize control of Tiananmen Square. As a result, hundreds of protesters were killed and thousands arrested. Explore FRONTLINE’s timeline of the protests and massacre at Tiananmen Square.

The most famous photograph from the standoff at Tiananmen Square is seen above. The protester known as “Tank Man” became an inspiration for protesters around the world. FRONTLINE’s “Tank Man” reflects on what he means for China today.

Source: BEIJING - JUNE 5, 1989: A lone demonstrator stands down a column of tanks June 5, 1989 at the entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (Photo by CNN via Getty Images) 

(Source: pbsthisdayinhistory)