Tiananmen Square: 30 Years Reflecting

Samuel Griffin

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June 4th marked 30 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre in China. Different sources list the number of deceased at 200, however, a recently released document from the UK revealed that a message between the then British Ambassador to China, Sir Alan Donald, stated that up to 10,000 died.

In the 1980s China was undergoing large socio-political changes. The present ruling communist party allowed for a small number of private companies to be created and an increase in foreign investment in an attempt to boost the economy and raise living standards. Although at first, these moves seemed to be beneficial economically and even socially, it brought with it corruption and a newfound hope instilled in the youth for greater political openness.

This newfound hope lead to student-organized protests, mainly students who had experienced living abroad and what the world had to offer, or others that grew restless and angry at the oppressive Chinese government. The demands for political freedom grew and grew, reaching a climax in early June of 1989. The Chinese government at first didn’t respond, however as the numbers of protesters increased and became more inflamed, the government responded ruthlessly and violently, shooting on sight and even bringing in tanks.

This should act as a lesson to all world governments of what not to be. The feelings felt by those Chinese students have been felt before and will again, by people all over the world, from all walks of life.