May 1989

The second petition of the students was ineffective, so demonstration recommenced. When the government ordered an end to these protests only some of the students complied. In the afternoon of May 13, several hundred students began a hunger strike at Tian An Men Square. They continued for another day and the government finally conceded. This talk did not succeed, however, and twelve of China's most famous writers and scholars presented their emergency appeals at the Square, calling the government to give these students just treatments; their efforts failed. By the third day of the hunger strike, more and more people began to sympathize with the students and they gathered around the Square.

For the next two days, the number of students, who fainted in the hunger strike increased to 600; some had even stopped drinking water. In addition, more people from all over China, many of whom were not students, marched to the Square to show their support. Even local businesses supported the students, donating basic supplies.

On May 12, the students issued the May 2 Declaration proclaiming their hunger strike. They issued another declaration on the 16 fittingly called the May 16th Declaration.

Even more people filled the Square the next day, both to support and to watch the students. The Beijing Youth Newspaper took a poll of bystanders and participants.

A day later, Chinese leaders met with student leaders including Wu'er Kaixi and Wang Dan. Although this talk was televised to the nation nothing was accomplished. The next day, May 19, the student leaders heard that the government would use martial law to end all this. They dedided to call off the hunger strike but started a sit in. Martial law was institued the next day.

Military troops entered the city but were unable to clear Tian An Men Square on account of the amount of people that were there. After many failed attempts in trying to enter the city, the military retreated to the borders of Beijing on May 23. That day, a group of students splattered Mao's portrait with ink. They were captured and jailed. The Tian An Men Square Site Headquarter was formed on May 24 and Chai Ling was named the Commander-in-Chief. The purpose of theAlliance to Protect the Constitution, formed on the 23, was to watch over the actions of the various groups during this movement. They recommended that the students leave the Tian An Men Square by May 30, but the Site Headquarter refused to do so. On May 30, a statue of the Goddess of Democracy was placed in Tian An Men Square.