A crowd in Hong Kong holds a candlelight memorial to honor the protestors who sufffered in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Photograph by Mark Leong, National Geographic

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  • On June 4, 1989, troops from the People’s Liberation Army moved into Tiananmen Square, Beijing. The Chinese government sent the army to put to end large-scale demonstrations protesting corruption and the government’s political and economic policies.


    In wide-ranging protests lasting seven weeks, millions of Chinese students, intellectuals, and workers met in the 44-hectare (109-acre) square in the heart of Beijing. Protesters marched through nearby streets, held hunger strikes, and spoke their minds over megaphones.


    What seemed like a promising start to political reform ended with military intervention. Foreign journalists were expelled, and the Chinese government has not made information about the event public. Due to this secrecy, the number of protesters killed, injured, or imprisoned is not known. 

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    army Noun

    military land forces.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    imprison Verb

    to confine or put in a jail-like facility.

    journalist Noun

    person who reports and distributes news.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    political Adjective

    having to do with public policy, government, administration, or elected office.

    protest noun, verb

    demonstration against a policy or action.

    reform noun, verb

    change or improvement of a policy or process.