Overview of the June 4th Incident
Until the 20th century, China was a feudal state. In 1911, the last dynasty, the Qing dynasty collapsed. Sun Yat Sen established the Republic of China. He, however, did not remain in power and a civil war broke out between his party, the KMT (Nationalist Party) and the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). In 1949, the KMT collapsed and Mao Zedong, the leader of the CCP established the People's Republic of China.
Mao ruled the country as a dictator until his death in 1976. During his reign, he instituted brutal programs such as the Great Leap Foward and the Cultural Revolution. He was suceeded by Deng Xiaoping. Under Deng, many economic reforms were made, but the people still did not have basic rights.
In the 1980s, emboldened students led several demonstrations. The largest pro-democracy movement occurred in 1989 in Tian An Men Square.
After the death of Hu Yaobang, many people filled the Square, both in remembrance and in protest. The protests continued for two months, and came to a climax on the night of June 3.
Soldiers entered the city and fired on citizens. Protesters, soldiers, and bystanders were killed. The government, however, did not respond to the students' demands. They announced that the situation was under military control and put out warrants for the arrests of student leaders.
Today Chinese dissidents remain in exile or prison.
The Chinese people refer to the demonstrations as "the June 4th incident."
Map of Tian An Men Square