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Asia-Pacific

Thirty years on from Tiananmen: unpublished pictures of the student movement

media Students from Beijing's Art College build a gigantic "Godess of Democracy" and place it just opposite the portrait of Mao Zedong on the Gate of Heavenly Peace. China's leaders did not take the move well. RFI/Jan van der Made

In the early hours of 4 June 1989, the China’s People’s Liberation Army violently ended weeks of popular protests that centred on Tiananmen Square. Begun by students, the protests were soon joined by all layers of society. Their demands: fight corruption, more transparency, more freedom, more power to the people.

But the leaders of the Communist Party, headed by Deng Xiaoping, regarded the movement as “chaos” that was undermining China’s stability. For them, it brought back memories of rioting red guards during the Cultural Revolution. Their answer: suppression.

RFI’s Jan van der Made was in Beijing during the last days of the protest movement and the first days of the crackdown. His eyewitness account is illustrated here in his previously unpublished photographs.

(Full-screen slideshow available here)

 
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