June 4, 1989
Chinese troops kill pro-democracy protestors at Tiananmen Square
The protestors, primarily students, gathered in Beijing to call for the resignation of Chinese Communist Party leaders. After weeks of protests, the Chinese government sent in troops and tanks to disperse the protestors, shooting or running over the demonstrators who in turn fought against the troops by throwing rocks or setting fire to government vehicles. The massacre ended with an estimated 300-1000 dead (some cite as many as 10,000 were killed) and up to 10,000 arrested. Today, according to Time, “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged China to disclose the details of people killed, detained or missing during the Chinese military’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 29 years ago.”
The day after the massacre, an unidentified man referred to as the Tank Man, defiantly stood in front of a line of tanks to slow their progression. Though several others performed similar blockades, the Tank Man was the only one to be filmed or photographed, and his image became world-famous immediately as a symbol of resistance.