Tiananmen Square, Then and Now

Twenty-three years ago today, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) violently cleared Beijing's Tiananmen Square of protesters, ending a six-week demonstration that had called for democracy and widespread political reform. The protests began in April of 1989, gaining support as initial government reactions included concessions. Martial law was declared on May 20, troops were mobilized, and from the night of June 3 through the early morning of June 4, the PLA pushed into Tiananmen Square, crushing some protesters and firing on many others. The exact number killed may never be known, but estimates range from several hundred to several thousand. Today, China's censors are blocking Internet access to the terms "six four," "23," "candle," and "never forget," broadening extensive efforts to silence talk about the 23rd anniversary of China's bloody June 4 crackdown. Here is that story, in images and words, Please share it widely.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Evaristo Sa / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 5/21-5/27

    Estonia’s triplet Olympic Marathoners, protests in France, US special operations forces in Syria, the National Spelling Bee in Maryland, a thousand Indian Runner ducks in a South African vineyard, and much more.

  • Jean Chung / Getty

    Hiroshima Today

    Images and portraits from present-day Hiroshima

  • China Daily / China Daily China Daily Infor / Reuters

    A Collection of Kisses

    One of the most intimate human gestures, a kiss can convey greetings, give comfort, express joy, and above all, show love.

  • Marco Marchioni / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

    2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest, Part II

    The deadline to enter the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is fast approaching—entries will be accepted until May 27, 2016.

Join the Discussion