Mrs. Di Grazia
Accelerated English 2, Period 6
9 May 2014
The Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 in Beijing, China
On June 3rd, 1989 in Tiananmen Square in Communist China’s capital of Beijing, protestors were silenced by military violence. Tiananmen, ironically, translates into “gate of heavenly peace”. Chinese troops arrested and killed thousands of civilians who were protesting for more governmental transparency and democracy. Protests had been gaining momentum since 1985, and grew to as much as 1.2 million protestors, led by students, in Beijing in May of 1989. The Chinese government, after asking the protestors to stop, imposed martial law and opened fire on the protestors. These protests angered many people from other countries, such as the United States, and are often characterized by the famous image of a lone protestor standing in front of a line of tanks.
China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It was traditionally ruled by imperial dynasties that usually lasted hundreds of years. In 1911, the Qing dynasty was overthrown and a republican state was established that lasted until 1949, when the Communists, led by Mao Zedong, established the People’s Republic of China, which is still in place today.
China has no official religion and many of its people are not religious, but Chinese society has been shaped by religion. Many Chinese people follow Confucianism or Daoism. Daoism emphasizes the ideas of compassion, moderation, and humility. Much of Chinese culture is based off the teachings of Confucius, which are centered on benevolence and guide to human action.
Rather than a single language in China, there are more than seven languages, though Mandarin is the official language. Tea drinking is also very popular in China. Chinese art is often influenced by Buddhism. The Spring Festival, on the Chinese New Year, is the biggest holiday of the year. It is a time when people honor their elders and celebrate the coming of a new year.
In the 1980s in Communist China, there was growing opposition to the Communist Party in the People’s Republic of China. This opposition, primarily led by university students, wanted China to become more democratic, though some called for other things such as the resignations of government leaders, government transparency and...
Student protests began in Beijing and Shanghai in 1985 and 1986, respectively. In April of 1989, Hu Yaobang, the leader of the Communist party, died. He was, to many of the Chinese people, a symbol for democratic reform. Students mourned in Tiananmen Square his passing and set out to continue his legacy. Many others join. More radical students went on hunger strikes. On May 20th, about 1.2 million people had assembled for a rally, which scared the General Secretary of China, Ziyang. Ziyang asked the protestors to return home, but they did not listen to him. That same day, Premier Li Peng imposed martial law in Beijing.
In June, China cut off all American news...