January 1, 1987: Students march to Tiananmen Square to demonstrate. The police are ready, and they club students. Students are beaten and dragged away. Confrontation between students and police was very rare at this time.
Hu Yaobang prevents students from being jailed. He arranges for buses to take studentsback to campus. The government .hard liners. are not happy with Hu. He is ousted from his government position by conservatives. They said that he was a weak leader (i.e., he listened to the students too much). The hard liners go after intellectuals who had questioned the government. Students who were involved in the protests were assigned to jobs in terrible locations after they graduated from college. Zhao takes over after Hu is ousted from power.
1988: The economy is improving and people are encouraged to sell surplus crops in open markets popping up in cities and villages. People are .jumping into the sea. (i.e., going into business on their own). Government officials are using their positions/influence and getting rich. The people are beginning to resent this.
April 1989: Hu Yabong has a heart attack and dies. Big posters appear on walls throughout campuses in Beijing, mourning Hu (which was actually a way to criticize Deng and the current
3. end to government corruption
April 21, 1989: Thousands of students gather in Tiananmen Square in anticipation of Hu's funeral. Big posters appear in the square with slogans such as . Down with dictatorship..
April 22, 1989: Hu's funeral in Tiananmen Square. Government wants to close the square, but the students have out-smarted them by gathering the night before and camping overnight on the square. While the funeral is in process, a few students are let through the police line with their petition of demands. They kneel for over an hour, and no government official receives them or their demands. The square continues to fill with students and workers.
April 26, 1989: The People's Daily runs an editorial in which Deng warns students to stop the demonstrations. The streets are full of protesters from all walks of life. A line of students four miles long marches to Tiananmen Square. The protesters break through the police lines. Civilians and workers support the students. It seemed as through there was the support of the whole city. Some people were very supportive of the demonstrators and others thought that the whole experience was just .fun..
May 13, 1989: Mikhail Gorbachev, who is head of the Soviet Union, arrives for the Sino-Soviet Summit. This is an important meeting because relations between the Soviet Union and China have not been good for many years, and they are now trying to work through their differences. The students see this as a good opportunity to gain international exposure, because there are over 1000 foreign journalists in Beijing to cover the summit. The students put white headbands
around their heads and declare that they are going on a hunger strike until their demands have been met. The Western media shows coverage of Chinese students fainting and being taken away on stretchers by medics. This is a humiliation for Deng. Students and
to join the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. The students are not well organized. There is a party atmosphere with music and drinking. Doctors, housewives and even journalists join the protesters.
Mid May, 1989: There is a stalemate between the government and the students, and within these two groups, there are also factions that cannot agree on what to do. Deng and the government hard liners want to squash the protest using the military if necessary. Zhao wants to negotiate with the students. He was used to listening to the students and thought that the two sides could come to an agreement.More workers have arrived in the square and are now demanding the establishment of workers unions. It's important to keep in mind that the majority of the population in the countryside were not involved and did not support the demonstrations. (China has a very large population, so it is quite deceiving when you see the news footage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and see so many people. In actuality, the protesters are a minute percentage of the population.)
May 18, 1989: The hunger strike is now five days old. The government invites demonstration leaders to a meeting to discuss demands. This turns into a confrontation between thegovernment and the protesters, with neither side willing to back down. Zhao goes to the Tiananmen Square. With tears in his eyes, he says that he cannot resolve the situation. The hard liners strip him of his government post and ban him from public life.
May 19, 1989: Martial Law is declared. The students call off the hunger strike.
Early June, 1989: Chinese students bring a large .goddess of liberty. statue into Tiananmen Square. This figure was modeled on the Statue of Liberty and became a symbol of the demands for greater democratic freedom in China.
June 3, 1989: The protesters block the way of the military from the square for two weeks. The troops force their way through the crowd into the square. Protesters are beaten and arrested. Real bullets are used (whereas rubber bullets had previously been used). The streets were in disorder with shooting, fires, and pitted battles. The military opens fire on the people. Many of the demonstrators leave Tiananmen Square. The ones that remain gather towards the center
of the square. The military troops surround them early the next morning. The students link arms early and try to leave the square. Bullets whiz by them. Tanks crush the people in the back and kill them.
Square massacre, nearly 2600 people are reported dead. Under extreme pressure from the government, the Chinese Red Cross is retracted. Many of the young leaders of the protest are arrested, go into hiding or leave the country. Many students and workers are arrested, tried and sent to prison. The Tiananmen Square protests were covered widely in the Western press, and human rights violations in China then became an issue of international interest.