AFTERMATH OF THE REVOLUTION AT TIANANMEN SQUARE
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese, were a series of popular demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China beginning on 15 April 1989. The protests ended with military suppression on 4 June.
In the late 1970s, the Chinese leadership of Deng Xiaoping abandoned Maoist-style planned collectivist economics, and embraced market-based reforms. Due to the rapid pace of change, by the late 1980s, grievances over inflation, limited career prospects for students, and corruption of the party elite were growing rapidly. Communist governments were also losing legitimacy around the world, particularly in Eastern Europe. In April 1989, triggered by the death of deposed Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang, a liberal reformer, mass gatherings and protests took place in and around Tiananmen Square. At its height, some half a million protesters assembled there. The largely student-run demonstrations called for continued economic reform, freedom of the press, accountability from officials, and political liberalization. Peaceful protests also occurred in other cities, such as Shanghai and Wuhan, while looting and rioting broke out in Xi'an and Changsha.
The movement lasted for about seven weeks. The government initially attempted appeasing the protesters through concessions, but a student-led hunger strike galvanized support for the demonstrators around the country. Ultimately, Deng Xiaoping and other party elders resolved to use force to suppress the movement. Party authorities declared martial law on 20 May. Military convoys entered Beijing on the evening of 3–4 June. Under strict orders to clear the Square by dawn, the People's Liberation Army pushed through makeshift blockades set up by demonstrators in western Beijing on their way to Tiananmen Square. The PLA used live fire to clear their path of protesters. The exact number of civilian deaths is not known, and the majority of estimates range from several hundred to thousands.
Internationally, the Chinese government was widely condemned for the use of force against the protesters. Western governments imposed economic sanctions and arms embargoes. Following 4 June, the government conducted widespread arrests of protesters and their supporters, cracked down on other protests around China, expelled foreign journalists and strictly controlled coverage of the events in the domestic press. Officials deemed sympathetic to the protests were demoted or purged. General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who was considered too sympathetic to the movement, was ousted in a party leadership reshuffle. The aftermath of the protests strengthened the power of orthodox Communist hardliners, and delayed further market reforms until Deng Xiaoping's 1992 southern tour.
Thousands of students from local colleges and universities march to Tiananmen Square, Beijing, on May 4, 1989, to demonstrate for government reform. (AP Photo/Mikami)
Challenges with reform
At the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Communist Party Congress in 1978, the Chinese leadership initiated a series of economic and political reforms, which led to the gradual implementation of a market economy and some political liberalization that relaxed the system set up by Mao Zedong. These reforms were generally successful in the early years and well received by the public. However, the pace of political reform was slow, as corruption and nepotism pervaded the shift toward a free-market economy.
The state-mandated pricing system, in place since the 1950s, had long kept prices stable at low levels that reduced incentives to increase production. The initial reforms created a two-tier system where some prices were fixed while others were allowed to fluctuate. In a market with chronic shortages, this allowed people with powerful connections to buy goods at low prices and sell at market prices. In addition, the money supply had expanded too fast. At least a third of factories were unprofitable. The government tightened the money supply in 1988, leaving much of the economy without loans.
Following the 1988 Beidaihe meeting, the party leadership under Deng Xiaoping agreed to a transition to a market-based price system. News of the relaxation of price controls triggered waves of cash withdrawals, buying and hoarding all over China. The government panicked and rescinded the price reforms in less than two weeks, but its impact was pronounced for a much longer period of time. Inflation soared. Official indices report a Consumer Price Index increase of 30% in Beijing between 1987–88, leading to panic among salaried workers that they could no longer afford staple goods. Moreover, in the new market economy, unprofitable state-owned enterprises were pressured to cut costs. The "iron rice bowl", i.e., job security and a host of social benefits that come with it, ranging from medical care to subsidized housing, were at risk for a vast segment of the population.
 Social disenfranchisement and legitimacy crisis
Reformist leaders envisioned in 1978 that intellectuals would play a leading role in guiding the country through reforms, but this did not happen as planned. Despite the opening of new universities and increased enrollment, the state-directed education system did not adequately prepare for increasing market demand in the areas of agriculture, light industry, services, and foreign investment. The job market was especially limited for students specializing in social sciences and the humanities. Moreover, private companies no longer needed to accept students assigned to them by the state, and many high-paying jobs were offered on the basis of nepotism and favoritism. Gaining a good state-assigned placement meant navigating a highly inefficient bureaucracy that gave power to officials who had little expertise in their area of jurisdiction. Facing a dismal job market and limited chances of going abroad, intellectuals and students had a greater vested interest in political issues. Small-scale study groups, such as the "Democracy Salon" and the "Caodi Salon", began appearing on Beijing university campuses. These organizations motivated the students to get involved politically.
At the same time, the party's nominally socialist ideology faced a legitimacy crisis as it gradually adopted capitalist practices. Private enterprise gave rise to profiteers who took advantage of lax regulations, and who often flaunted their wealth in front of the 'have-nots' of society. Popular discontent was brewing over the lack of fairness in wealth distribution. Greed, not skill, appeared to be the most crucial success factor. There was widespread public disillusionment over the country's future. People wanted change, yet the power to define 'the correct path' continued to rest solely in the hands of the state.
Devising an appropriate response to the problems created by reforms opened a rift in the Chinese leadership. The reformers ("the right", led by Hu Yaobang) favoured political liberalization and a plurality of ideas as a channel to voice popular discontent, and supported further reforms. The conservatives ("the left", led by Chen Yun) said that the reforms have gone too far, and advocated for a return to greater state control to ensure social stability and to better align with the party's socialist ideology. Both sides needed the backing of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to carry out important policy decisions.
Students from Beijing University stage a huge demonstration in Tiananmen Square as they start an unlimited hunger strike as the part of mass pro-democracy protest against the Chinese government, on May 18, 1989. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images)
1986 student demonstrations
In the summer of 1986, astrophysics professor Fang Lizhi, who had returned from a tenure at Princeton University, began a personal tour around universities in China, speaking about liberty, human rights, and separation of powers. He became immensely popular and his recorded speeches were widely circulated among students. In response, Deng Xiaoping warned that Fang was worshipping Western lifestyles, capitalism, and multi-party systems, while undermining China's socialist ideology, traditional values, and the party's leadership.
Inspired by Fang and other 'people-power' movements around the world, in December 1986, student demonstrators staged protests against the slow pace of reform. The issues were wide-ranging, and included demands for economic liberalization, democracy, and rule of law. While the protests were initially contained in Hefei, where Fang lived, it quickly spread to Beijing and other major cities. The central leadership was alarmed by the protests, and accused the students of fomenting Cultural Revolution-style turmoil.
General Secretary Hu Yaobang was blamed for taking a soft attitude and mishandling the protests, thus undermining social stability. He was denounced thoroughly by conservatives. Hu was forced to resign as General Secretary on 16 January 1987. Following his resignation, the party began the "Anti Bourgeois Liberalization Campaign", taking aim at Hu, political liberalization, and Western-inspired ideas in general. The Campaign put a stop to student protests and tightened the political environment, but Hu remained popular with progressives within the party, intellectuals, and students
A striking Beijing University student is given first aid by medics at a field hospital in Tiananmen Square, on May 17, 1989, the fourth day of their hunger strike for democracy. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami) #
A truck is almost buried in people as it makes its way through the crowd of thousands gathered in Tiananmen Square in a pro-democracy rally, on May 17, 1989. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami) #
Unidentified Beijing youths chant as they drive to Tiananmen Square to lend their enthusiastic support to striking university students, on May 19, 1989. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami) #
Enthusiastic demonstrators are cheered by bystanders as they arrive at Tiananmen Square to show support for the student hunger strike, on May 18, 1989. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami)
Preparing for dialogue
The leadership was divided on how to respond to the movement as early as mid-April. After Zhao Ziyang's return from North Korea, the divisions intensified. Those who supported continued dialogue and a soft approach with students rallied behind Zhao Ziyang, while hardliner conservatives who opposed the movement rallied behind Premier Li Peng. Zhao and Li clashed at a PSC meeting on 1 May. Li maintained that the need for stability overrides all else, while Zhao said that the party should show support for increased democracy and transparency. Zhao pushed the case for further dialogue.
In preparation for dialogue, the Autonomous Student Union elected representatives to a formal Dialogue Delegation. However, the Union leaders were reluctant to let the Delegation unilaterally take control of the movement. Facing internal discord and declining engagement from the student body at large, a group of charismatic leaders, including Wang Dan and Wu'erkaixi, called for more radical measures to regain momentum. They believed that the government's 'dialogue' was merely a way to trick the students into submission. They began mobilizing students for a hunger strike on 11 May.
 Hunger strikes begin
Students began the hunger strike on 13 May, two days prior to the highly publicized state visit by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Knowing that the welcoming ceremony for Gorbachev was scheduled to be held on the Square, student leaders wanted to use the hunger strike there as a bargaining chip to force the government into meeting their demands. Moreover, the hunger strike gained widespread sympathy from the population at large and earned the student movement the moral high ground that it sought. By the afternoon of 13 May, some 300,000 were gathered at the Square.
Inspired by the course of events in Beijing, protests and strikes began at universities in other cities, with many students traveling to Beijing to join the demonstration. Generally, the demonstration at Tiananmen Square was well-ordered, with daily marches of students from various Beijing-area colleges displaying their solidarity with the class boycott and with the demands of the protest. The students sang The Internationale, the world socialist anthem, on their way to, and within, the square.
Afraid that the movement would now spin out of control, Deng Xiaoping asked that the Square be cleared for the Gorbachev visit. Executing Deng's request, Zhao used a soft approach, and directed his subordinates to coordinate negotiations with students immediately. Zhao believed he could appeal to the students' patriotism, and that the students understood signs of internal turmoil during the Sino-Soviet summit would embarrass the nation (not just the government). On the morning of 13 May, Yan Mingfu, head of the Party's United Front, called an emergency meeting, gathering prominent student leaders and intellectuals, including Liu Xiaobo, Chen Ziming and Wang Juntao. Yan said the government was prepared to hold immediate dialogue with student representatives, but that the Tiananmen welcoming ceremony for Gorbachev would be cancelled whether the students withdraw or not - in effect removing the bargaining power the students thought they possessed. The announcement sent the student leadership into disarray.
 Gorbachev visit
Press restrictions were loosened significantly during early to mid May. State media began broadcasting footage sympathetic to protesters and the movement, including the hunger strikers. On 14 May, intellectuals led by Dai Qing gained permission from Hu Qili to bypass government censorship and air the progressive views of the nation's intellectuals on Guangming Daily. The intellectuals then issued an urgent appeal for the students to leave the Square. Many students, however, believed that the intellectuals were speaking for the government, and refused to budge. That evening, formal negotiations took place between government representatives led by Yan Mingfu and student representatives led by Shen Tong and Xiang Xiaoji. Yan affirmed the patriotic nature of the student movement and pleaded for the students to withdraw from the Square. While Yan's apparent sincerity for compromise satisfied some students, the meeting grew increasingly chaotic as competing student factions relayed uncoordinated and incoherent demands to the leadership. Shortly after student leaders learned that the event had not been broadcast nationally as promised, the meeting fell apart. Yan then personally went to the Square to appeal to the students, even offering himself to be held hostage. He also took the student's plea to Li Peng the next day, asking Li to consider formally retracting the 26 April Editorial and branding the movement as "patriotic and democratic." Li dismissed the idea.
A bronze replica of the "Goddess of Democracy", a statue hastily created by Tiananmen protesters from the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
The students remained in the Square during the Gorbachev visit; his welcoming ceremony was held at the airport. The Sino-Soviet summit, the first of its kind in some thirty years, marked the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations, and was seen as a breakthrough of tremendous historical significance for China's leaders. That the smooth proceedings of this event had been derailed by the student movement embarrassed the leadership and drove many moderates onto a more 'hardliner' path. The summit between Deng and Gorbachev took place at the Great Hall amidst the backdrop of commotion and protest in the Square. When Gorbachev met with Zhao on 16 May, Zhao told the Soviet leader, and by extension the international press, that Deng was still the 'paramount authority' in China. Deng felt that this remark was Zhao's attempt to shift blame for mishandling the movement to him. The statement marked a decisive split between the country's two most senior leaders.
 Gathering momentum
The hunger strike galvanized support for the students and aroused sympathy across the country. Around a million Beijing residents from all walks of life demonstrated in solidarity on 17–18 May. These included PLA personnel, police officers, and lower party officials. Many grassroots Party and Youth League organizations, as well as government-sponsored labour unions, encouraged their membership to demonstrate. In addition, several of China's non-Communist parties sent a letter to Li Peng in support of students. The Chinese Red Cross issued a special notice and sent in a large number of personnel to provide medical services to the hunger strikers on the Square. After the departure of Mikhail Gorbachev, many foreign journalists remained in the Chinese capital to cover the protests, giving the movement international spotlight. Western governments urged Beijing to exercise restraint.
The movement, on the wane by the end of April, now regained momentum that seemed unstoppable. By 17 May, as students from across the country poured into the capital to join the movement, protests of varying size were occurring in some 400 Chinese cities. Students demonstrated at local party branches in Fujian, Hubei, and Xinjiang. Without a clear position from the Beijing leadership, local authorities did not know how to respond. Since the demonstrations now incorporated a wide range of social groups with varying grievances, it became increasingly unclear with whom the government could negotiate, and what exactly the demands were. For its part, the government remained indecisive on how to deal with the situation, as its authority and legitimacy gradually eroded, with the hunger strikers now occupying moral high ground. These combined circumstances put immense pressure on the authorities to act, and martial law was discussed as a viable response.
Since the situation seemed intractable, the weight of taking decisive action fell on paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. On 17 May, a PSC meeting was called at Deng's residence. At the meeting, Zhao Ziyang's concessions-based strategies was criticized. Li Peng and Deng asserted that by making a conciliatory speech on 4 May, Zhao exposed divisions within the top leadership and emboldened the students. Deng warned that if Beijing is not pacified quickly, the country risked civil war and another Cultural Revolution; his views were echoed by the party elders. Deng then moved to declare martial law as a show of the government's no-tolerance stance. To justify martial law, the demonstrators were described as tools of "bourgeois liberalism" advocates who were pulling the strings behind the scenes, as well as tools of elements within the party who wished to further their personal ambitions.
On the evening of 17 May, the PSC met at Zhongnanhai to finalize plans for martial law. Zhao announced to the body that he was ready to "take a leave", citing he could not bring himself to carry out martial law. Hu Qili also voiced his reluctance. While Li Peng and Yao Yilin both supported declaring martial law, Qiao Shi was ambivalent. Qiao said that while he opposed further concessions, he did not see martial law as a practical way to resolve the matter. The elders in attendance at the meeting, Bo Yibo and Yang Shangkun, urged the PSC to follow Deng's orders. Zhao did not consider the inconclusive PSC vote to have legally binding implications on martial law; Yang, in his capacity as Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, went on to mobilize the military to move into the capital.
Li Peng met with students for the first time on 18 May in an attempt to placate public concern over the hunger strike. During the talks, student leaders once again demanded that the government rescind the 26 April Editorial and affirm the student movement as "patriotic". Li Peng said the government's main concern was sending hunger strikers to hospital. The discussions yielded little substantive results, but gained student leaders prominent airtime on national television.
Students, we came too late. We are sorry. You talk about us, criticize us, it is all necessary. The reason that I came here is not to ask you to forgive us. All I want to say is that students are getting very weak, it is the 7th day since you went on hunger strike, you can't continue like this. [...] You are still young, there are still many days yet to come, you must live healthy, and see the day when China accomplishes the four modernizations. You are not like us, we are already old, it doesn't matter to us any more.
– Zhao Ziyang at Tiananmen Square. 19 May 1989.
In the early morning of 19 May, Zhao Ziyang went to Tiananmen in what became his political swan song. He was accompanied by Wen Jiabao. Li Peng also went to the Square, but left shortly thereafter. At 4:50 am Zhao made a speech with a bullhorn to a crowd of students, urging the students to end the hunger strike. He told the students that they were still young and urged them to stay healthy and not to sacrifice themselves without due concern for their futures. Zhao's emotional speech was applauded by some students. It would be his last public appearance.
Beijing police parade through Tiananmen Square carrying banners in support of striking University students, on May 19, 1989. The students were in the sixth day of their hunger strike for political reform. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami)
Starting on the night of 17 April, three thousand PKU students marched from the campus towards Tiananmen Square, and soon nearly a thousand students from Tsinghua joined. Upon arrival, they soon joined forces with those already gathered at the Square. As its size grew, the gathering gradually evolved into a protest, as students began to draft a list of pleas and suggestions (Seven Demands) for the government:
On the morning of 18 April, students remained in the Square. Some gathered around the Monument to the People's Heroes singing patriotic songs and listening to impromptu speeches by student organizers, others gathered at the Great Hall. Meanwhile, a few thousand students gathered at Xinhua Gate, the entrance to Zhongnanhai, the seat of the party leadership, where they demanded dialogue with the leadership. Police restrained the students from entering the compound. Students then staged a sit-in.
On 20 April, most students had been persuaded to leave Xinhua Gate. To disperse about 200 students that remained, police employed batons; minor clashes were reported. Many students felt they were abused by the Police, and rumours about police brutality spread quickly. The Xinhua Gate incident angered students on campus, where those who were not hitherto politically active decided to join the protests. Also on this date, a group of workers calling themselves the “Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation” issued two handbills challenging the central leadership.
Hu's state funeral took place on 22 April. On the evening of 21 April, some 100,000 students marched on Tiananmen Square, ignoring orders from Beijing municipal authorities that the Square was to be closed off for the funeral. The funeral, which took place inside the Great Hall and attended by the leadership, was broadcast live to the students. General Secretary Zhao Ziyang delivered the eulogy. The funeral seemed rushed, and only lasted 40 minutes, as emotions ran high in the Square. Students wept.
Security cordoned off the east entrance to the Great Hall, but several students pressed forward. Three of these students knelt on the steps of the Great Hall to present a petition and demanded to see Premier Li Peng. However, no leaders emerged from the Great Hall, leaving the students disappointed and angry; some called for a class boycott.
From 21 to 23 April, students began organizing under the banners of formal organizations. On 23 April, the "Beijing Autonomous University Students Union" ("the Union") was formed. It elected CUPL student Zhou Yongjun as chair; Wang Dan and Wu'erkaixi also emerged as leaders. From this vantage point, the Union called for a general class boycott at all Beijing universities. Such an independent organization operating outside of party jurisdiction alarmed the leadership.
On 22 April, near dusk, serious rioting broke out in Changsha and Xi'an. In Xi'an, arson from rioters destroyed cars and houses, and looting occurred in shops near the city's Xihua Gate. In Changsha, 38 stores were ransacked by looters. Over 350 people were arrested in both cities. In Wuhan, university students organized protests against the provincial government. As the situation became more volatile nationally, Zhao Ziyang called numerous meetings of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC). Zhao stressed three points: discourage students from further protests and ask them to go back to class, use all measures necessary to combat rioting, and open forms of dialogue with students at different levels of government. Premier Li Peng called upon Zhao to condemn protestors and recognize the need to take more serious action. Zhao dismissed Li's views. Despite calls for him to remain in Beijing, Zhao left for a scheduled state visit to North Korea on 23 April.
Zhao's departure to North Korea left Li Peng as the acting executive authority in Beijing. On 24 April, Li Peng and the PSC met with Beijing Party Secretary Li Ximing and mayor Chen Xitong to gauge the situation at the Square. The municipal officials wanted a quick resolution to the crisis, and framed the protests as a conspiracy to overthrow China's political system and major party leaders, including Deng Xiaoping. In Zhao's absence, the PSC agreed that firm action against protesters must be taken. On the morning of 25 April, Li Peng and President Yang Shangkun met with Deng at the latter's residence. Deng endorsed a hardline stance and said an appropriate 'warning' must be disseminated via mass media to curb further demonstrations. The meeting firmly established the first official evaluation of the protests from the leadership, and highlighted Deng's having 'final say' on important issues. Li Peng subsequently ordered Deng's views to be drafted as a communique and issued to all high-level Communist Party officials in an effort to mobilize the party apparatus against protesters.
On 26 April, the party's official newspaper People's Daily issued a front-page editorial titled "It is necessary to take a clear-cut stand against disturbances." It accused "extremely small segments of opportunists" of plotting to overthrow the Communist Party and the political system. The statement enraged students, who interpreted it as a direct indictment on the protests and its cause. The editorial backfired. Instead of scaring students into submission, it antagonized the students against the state. The editorial proved to be a major sticking point for the remainder of the protests. It evoked memories of the 1976 Tiananmen Incident: an event that was initially branded an anti-government conspiracy with much the same language as the 26 April editorial but was later rehabilitated as "patriotic" under Deng's leadership.
Organized by the Union, on 27 April some 50,000-100,000 students from all Beijing universities marched through the streets of the capital to Tiananmen Square, breaking through lines set up by police, and receiving widespread public support along the way, particularly from factory workers. The student leaders, eager to show the patriotic nature of the movement, also toned down anti-Communist slogans, choosing to present a message of "anti-corruption, anti-cronyism" but "pro-party". In a twist of irony, student factions who genuinely called for the overthrow of the Communist Party gained traction as a result of the 26 April Editorial.
The stunning success of the March forced the government into making concessions and meeting with student representatives. On 29 April, State Council spokesman Yuan Mu met with appointed representatives of government-sanctioned student associations. While the talks discussed a wide range of issues, including the editorial, the Xinhua Gate incident, and freedom of the press, they achieved few substantive results. Independent student leaders such as Wuer Kaixi refused to attend.
The government's tone grew increasingly conciliatory as Zhao Ziyang returned from Pyongyang on 30 April and resumed his executive authority. In Zhao's view, the hardliner approach had proven to be useless, and concession was the only alternative. Zhao asked that the press be opened to report the movement positively, and delivered two sympathetic speeches on 3–4 May. In the speeches, Zhao said that the student's concerns about corruption were legitimate, and that the student movement was patriotic in nature. The speeches essentially negated the message presented by 26 April Editorial. While some 100,000 students marched on the streets of Beijing on 4 May to commemorate the May Fourth Movement and repeat demands from earlier marches, many students were satisfied with the government's concessions. On 4 May, all Beijing universities except PKU and BNU announced the end of the class boycott. Subsequently, the majority of students began to lose interest in the movement
Pro-democracy demonstrators raise their fists and flash the victory sign in Beijing while stopping a military truck filled with soldiers on its way to Tiananmen Square on the day when then Prime Minister Li Peng declared Martial Law, May 20, 1989. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images) #
An unidentified mother introduces her son to a soldier on an army truck, 8 kilometers west of Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, on May 20, 1989. Citizens had surrounded and stopped the force. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami) #
A military helicopter drops leaflets above Tiananmen Square which state that the student protesters should leave the Square as soon as possible, on May 22, 1989. (Reuters/Shunsuke Akatsuka)
Premier Li Peng, who declared martial law and backed military action.
On 19 May, the PSC met with military leaders and party elders. Deng presided over the meeting and said that martial law was the only option. At the meeting Deng declared that he was 'mistaken' in choosing Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang as his successors, and resolved to remove Zhao from his position. Deng also vowed to deal resolutely with Zhao's supporters and begin propaganda work.
The Chinese government declared martial law on 20 May, and deployed People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces in three to four major vehicle convoys to Beijing. Their entry into the city was blocked at its suburbs by throngs of protesters. Tens of thousands of demonstrators surrounded military vehicles, preventing them from either advancing or retreating. Protesters lectured soldiers and appealed to them to join their cause; they also provided soldiers with food, water, and shelter. Seeing no way forward, the authorities ordered the army to withdraw on 24 May. All government forces retreated to bases outside the city. While the Army's retreat was initially seen as 'turning the tide' in favour of protesters, in reality mobilization took place across the country for a final assault; every Military Region (MR) deployed soldiers in the outskirts of Beijing except for the Capital MR itself. Some units arrived by air, while others arrived at Shahe railway station in suburban Beijing. Guangzhou's civil aviation authorities put regular airline tickets on hold to prepare for transporting military units.
At the same time, internal divisions intensified within the student movement itself. By late May, the students became increasingly disorganized with no clear leadership or unified course of action. Moreover, Tiananmen Square was overcrowded and facing serious hygiene problems. Hou Dejian suggested an open election of the student leadership to speak for the movement, but was met with opposition. Meanwhile, Wang Dan moderated his position, ostensibly sensing the impending military action and consequences, and advocated for a temporary withdraw from Tiananmen Square to re-group on campus, but this was opposed by 'hardliner' student factions who wanted to hold the Square. The increasing internal friction would lead to struggles for control of the loudspeakers in the middle of the square in a series of 'mini-coups': whoever controlled the loudspeakers was 'in charge' of the movement. Some students would wait at the train station to greet arrivals of students from other parts of the country in an attempt to enlist factional support 1–2 June
For the party leadership, the days leading up to 4 June were crucial in their decision making. The leadership agreed that it was necessary to end the “turmoil,” and that the students occupying the Square should return to their campuses. However, they struggled with the idea of using force. In order to carry out the clearing of the Square, the members of the Politburo needed to agree that using martial law to restore order was the only option. On 1 June Li Peng issued a report titled “On the True Nature of the Turmoil”, which was circulated to every member of the Politburo. The report aimed to persuade the Politburo of the necessity and legality of clearing Tiananmen Square by referring to the protestors as terrorists and counterrevolutionaries. The report stated that turmoil was continuing to grow, the students had no plans to leave, and they were gaining popular support.
Further justification for martial law came in the form of a report submitted by the Ministry of State Security (MSS) to the party leadership, which emphasized the infiltration of bourgeois liberalism into China and the negative effect that the West – particularly the United States – had on the students. The MSS expressed its belief that American forces had intervened in the student movement in hopes of overthrowing the Communist Party. The report created a sense of urgency within the party, and provided justification for military action. In conjunction with the plan to clear the Square by force, the Politburo received word from the martial law troops headquarters stating that the troops were ready to help stabilize the capital, and that they understood the necessity and legality of martial law to overcome the turmoil.
On 2 June, the movement saw an increase in action and protest, solidifying the CPC’s decision that it was time to act. Protests broke out as newspapers published articles that called for the students to leave Tiananmen Square and end the movement. Many of the students in the Square were not willing to leave and were outraged by the articles. They were also outraged by Beijing Daily’s 1 June article “Tiananmen, I Cry for You”, written by a fellow student who had become disillusioned with the movement, as he thought it was chaotic and disorganized. In response to the articles, thousands of students lined the streets of Beijing to protest against leaving the Square.
On 2 June, three intellectuals, Liu Xiaobo, Zhou Duo, Gao Xin, and a Taiwanese singer Hou Dejian declared a second hunger strike because they wanted to revive the pro-democracy movement. After weeks of occupying the Square, the students were tired, and internal rifts opened between moderate and hardliner student groups. In their declaration speech, the hunger strikers openly criticized the government’s suppression of the movement to remind the students that their cause was worth fighting for, and pushed them to continue their occupation of the Square.
During a meeting on 2 June, the party formally moved to clear the Square by force. Records from this meeting indicate that the Party Elders (Deng, Li Xiannian, Peng Zhen, Yang Shangkun, and Wang Zhen) agreed with the PSC that the Square needed to be cleared as quickly as possible. They also agreed that the Square needed to be cleared as peacefully as possible, but if protesters did not cooperate, the troops were authorized to use force to complete the job. In preparation for clearing the Square, martial law troops moved into Beijing. On the morning of 2 June, newspapers reported that troops were positioned in ten key areas in the city. Around midnight of 2 June an order went out to the remaining martial law troops to move to designated areas. After finalizing the decision to clear the Square, the CPC intended to act quickly. On the evening of 2 June, there were reports that a police Jeep ran into four civilians, killing three, and injuring the other. This incident sparked fear that the army and the police were trying to advance into Tiananmen Square. Student leaders issued emergency orders for the students to set up roadblocks at major intersections to prevent the advance of the large numbers of armed troops that were attempting to infiltrate the Square. In the early hours of 3 June, the first reports of violence on both sides were reported
Workmen try to drape the portrait of Mao Tse-tung in Beijing's Tiananmen Square after it was pelted with paint, on May 23, 1989. (Reuters/Ed Nachtrieb) #
Beijing University students listen as a strike spokesman details plans for a rally in Tiananmen Square, which they have occupied for the last two weeks, on May 28, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
A student from an art institute plasters the neck of a "Goddess of Democracy", a 10-meter-tall statue erected in Tiananmen Square on May 30, 1989. The statue was unveiled in front of the Great Hall of the People (right) and the monument to the People's Heroes (center) to promote the pro-democracy protest against the Chinese government. From a statement released by the art students who created the statue: "Today, here in the People's Square, the people's Goddess stands tall and announces to the whole world: A consciousness of democracy has awakened among the Chinese people! The new era has begun!" (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images) #
A plainclothes policeman tells students protesting in front of Beijing police headquarters that their activities violate martial law, on May 30, 1989, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Avery) #
Beijing University students put the finishing touches on the Goddess of Democracy in Tiananmen Square, on May 30, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
A huge crowd gathers to watch as student protestors burn copies of the Beijing Daily in retaliation for anti-student articles in front of the newspaper's offices, on June 2, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
A senior citizen airs her views on democracy in a discussion with striking students, on May 31, 1989 in Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
A dissident student asks soldiers to go back home as crowds flooded into the central Beijing, on June 3, 1989. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images) #
A young woman is caught between civilians and Chinese soldiers, who were trying to remove her from an assembly near the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on June 3, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
Pro-democracy protesters link arms to hold back angry crowds, preventing them from chasing a retreating group of soldiers near the Great Hall of the People, on June 3, 1989 in Beijing. Protesters were angered by an earlier attack upon students and citizens using tear gas and truncheons. People in the background stand atop buses used as a roadblock. (AP Photo/Mark Avary) #
Exhausted, humiliated soldiers are hustled away by protesters in central Beijing, on June 3, 1989. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images) #
A huge crowd gathers at a Beijing intersection where residents used a bus as a roadblock to keep troops from advancing toward Tiananmen Square in this June 3, 1989 photo. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers leap over a barrier on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, during heavy clashes with people and dissident students. The PLA was reportedly under orders to clear the square by 6:00 am, with no exceptions. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images) #
An armored personnel carrier, in flames after students set it on fire near Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 1989. (Tommy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images) #
Bodies of dead civilians lie among crushed bicycles near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 1989. (AP Photo)
Clearing the Square
Soldiers and tanks from the 27th and 38th Armies of the People's Liberation Army were sent to take control of Beijing and clear Tiananmen Square. The 27th Army was commanded by a relative of Yang Shangkun. Intelligence reports also indicated that 27th and 38th units were brought in from outside provinces because the PLA troops were considered to be sympathetic to demonstrators. Reports described the 27th as having been responsible for most civilian deaths and suggested that elements of the 27th established defensive positions in Beijing, potentially to defend against attacks by other military units. There were rumours at the time that high-ranking officials sympathised with the pro-democracy protesters and reports of defiance among other troops. Major General Xu Qinxian, commander of the 38th Army, shocked the top leadership when he refused a verbal order from General Li Laizhu to send the 38th in to clear the square; Xu had insisted on a written order. Xu was immediately removed from command and was later jailed for five years and expelled from the Party.
As word spread that hundreds of thousands of troops were advancing from all four directions, residents flooded the streets to block them, as they had done two weeks earlier. People set up barricades at major intersections. At about 10:30 pm, near the Muxidi apartment buildings (home to high-level Party officials and their families), protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police and army vehicles. Many vehicles were set on fire in the streets all around Tiananmen, some with their occupants still inside them. There were reports of soldiers being burned alive in their armoured personnel carriers while others were beaten to death. Soldiers responded by opening fire on protesters with live ammunition, causing fatalities and serious injuries. Soldiers also raked apartment buildings in the area with gunfire, and some people inside or on their balconies were shot.
The battle raged in the streets surrounding the Square, with protesters repeatedly advancing toward the army convoys and constructing barricades with vehicles, while the army attempted to clear the streets using tear gas and gunfire. Many injured citizens were saved by rickshaw drivers who ventured into the no-man's-land between the soldiers and crowds and carried the wounded off to hospitals. During the military action, many people wore black armbands in protest against the government, crowding boulevards or congregating by smoking barricades. In several cases, soldiers were pulled from tanks, beaten and killed by protesters.
Meanwhile, the PLA systematically established checkpoints around the city, chasing after protesters and blocking off the university district.
Within the Square itself, there was a debate between those who wished to withdraw peacefully, including Han Dongfang, and those who wished to stand within the square, such as Chai Ling.
At about 1:00 am, the army finally reached Tiananmen Square and waited for orders from the government. The soldiers had been told not to open fire, but they had also been told that they must clear the square by 6:00 am – with no exceptions. They made a final offer of amnesty if the few thousand remaining students would leave. About 4:00 am, student leaders put the matter to a vote: Leave the square, or stay and face the consequences. The remaining students, numbering a few hundred, left the square under the military's watch before dawn.
Armored personnel carriers (APCs) rolled up the roads, firing ahead and off to the sides. BBC reporter Kate Adie spoke of "indiscriminate fire" within the square. Eyewitness reporter Charlie Cole also saw Chinese soldiers firing Type 56 rifles into the crowd near an APC which had just been torched.
Students who sought refuge in buses were pulled out by groups of soldiers and beaten with heavy sticks. Some students attempting to leave the square were beaten. Leaders of the protest inside the square, where some had attempted to erect flimsy barricades ahead of the APCs, were said to have "implored" the students not to use weapons (such as Molotov cocktails) against the oncoming soldiers. Meanwhile, many students apparently were shouting, "Why are you killing us?" Around 4:30 am on 4 June, tanks smashed into the square, crushing vehicles and people with their treads, according to Cole. By 5:40 am 4 June, the Square had been cleared. Later accounts by foreign journalists reported few casualties during the Square-clearing process itself, citing that much of the killings happened in the Muxidi area on the way to the Square but not inside it.
On the morning of 5 June, protesters, parents of the injured and dead, workers and infuriated residents tried to enter the blockaded square but were shot at by the soldiers. The soldiers shot them in the back when they were running away. These actions were repeated several times.
After order was restored in Beijing on 4 June, protests continued in other cities of mainland China for several days. There were large protests in Hong Kong, where people again wore black in solidarity with the demonstrators in Beijing. There were protests in Guangzhou, and large-scale protests in Shanghai with a general strike. There were also protests in other countries, many adopting the use of black armbands as well. According to Amnesty International at least 300 people were killed in Chengdu on 5 June. Troops in Chengdu used concussion grenades, truncheons, knives and electric cattle prods against civilians. Hospitals were ordered to not accept students and on the second night the ambulance service was stopped by police.
By and large, the government regained control in the week following the military's seizure of the Square. A political purge followed in which officials responsible for organizing or condoning the protests were removed, and protest leaders jailed.
 Number of deaths
The number of dead and wounded remains unclear because of the large discrepancies between the different estimates, which range from several hundred to several thousand. Some of the early estimates were based on reports of a casualty figure of 2,600 from the Chinese Red Cross. The official Chinese government figure is 241 dead, including soldiers, and 7,000 wounded.
Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times wrote that due to the lack of physical evidence it is impossible to determine the actual number of casualties, but that "it seems plausible that about fifty soldiers and policemen were killed, along with 400 to 800 civilians."
The Chinese government has maintained that there were no deaths within the Square itself. Videos taken there at the time recorded the sound of gunshots. The State Council claimed 5,000 PLA and 2,000 civilians wounded. Yuan Mu, the spokesman of the State Council, said that about 300 soldiers and civilians died, including 23 students from universities in Beijing, along with a number of people he described as "ruffians". According to Chen Xitong, then Beijing mayor, 200 civilians and several dozen soldiers died. Other sources stated that 3,000 civilians and 6,000 soldiers were injured.
According to The Washington Post first Beijing bureau chief, Jay Mathews: "A few people may have been killed by random shooting on streets near the square, but all verified eyewitness accounts say that the students who remained in the square when troops arrived were allowed to leave peacefully. Hundreds of people, most of them workers and passersby, did die that night, but in a different place and under different circumstances." US ambassador James Lilley's account of the massacre notes that US State Department diplomats witnessed Chinese troops opening fire on unarmed people and based on visits to hospitals around Beijing a minimum of hundreds had been killed.
General consensus has emerged that much of the shooting took place outside of the Square; thus a count of deaths within the Square is not reflective of the scale of violence that took place. In addition, the Army reportedly fired on students after they left the Square, especially in the area near the Beijing concert hall.
A girl wounded during the clash between the army and students near Tiananmen Square is carried out by a cart, on June 4, 1989. (Manuel Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images) #
The driver of an armored personnel carrier that rammed through student lines, injuring many, lies dead after being beaten by students who set his vehicle on fire during an army attack on Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
A captured tank driver is helped to safety by students as the crowd beats him, on June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square. (Reuters) #
Civilians hold rocks as they stand on a government armored vehicle near Chang'an Boulevard in Beijing, early on June 4, 1989. Violence escalated between pro-democracy protesters and Chinese troops, leaving hundreds dead overnight. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
Taken care by others, an unidentified foreign journalist (2nd from right) is carried away from the clash between the army and students near Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 1989. (Tommy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images) #
A rickshaw driver fiercely pedals wounded people to a nearby hospital, with the help of bystanders, on June 4, 1989. PLA soldiers again fired hundreds of rounds towards angry crowds gathered outside Tiananmen Square at noon. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing) #
A handcuffed man is led by Chinese soldiers on a street in Beijing, in June of 1989, as police and soldiers searched for people involved in the April-June pro-democracy protests. (Manuel Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images) #
(1 of 2) Three unidentified men flee as a Chinese man, background left, stands alone to block a line of approaching tanks, in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, on June 5, 1989. The man in the background stood his ground and blocked the column of tanks when they came closer, an image captured on film by numerous other photographers and one that ultimately became a widely reproduced symbol of events there. (AP Photo/Terril Jones) #
(2 of 2) A citizen stands passively in front of Chinese tanks in this June 5, 1989, photo taken during the crushing of the Tiananmen Square uprising. (Reuters/Arthur Tsang) #
A crowd of Chinese clears a path to give a busload of foreign tourists a view of a dead body of victim of the first night of violence as People's Liberation Army troops shot their way into Tiananmen Square to crush pro-democracy protests, on Monday morning, June 5, 1989. (AP Photo/Mark Avery) #
A truck drives Chinese soldiers down Chang'an Boulevard in Beijing, on June 5, 1989, one day after violence between government troops and pro-democracy protesters left hundreds dead. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
Chinese onlookers run away as a soldier threatens them with a gun on June 5, 1989 as tanks took position at Beijing's key intersections next to the diplomatic compound. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Beijing resident on the west side of Tiananmen Square shows a slug from the automatic rifle fired by the army that went through his flat's window in central Beijing. (Manuel Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images) #
People on Chang'an Boulevard in Beijing hold up a photo that they described as dead victims of the violence against pro-democracy protesters on Tiananmen Square, on June 5, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener) #
A Chinese couple on a bicycle take cover beneath an underpass as tanks deploy overhead in eastern Beijing, on June 5, 1989. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing) #
Beijing residents inspect the interior of more than 20 armored personnel carriers burned by demonstrators to prevent the troops from moving into Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 1989. (Manuel Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images) #
A wall of tanks and APCs greet bicycle commuters near Tiananmen Square, on June 13, 1989, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami) #
Today, on June 4, 2012, paramilitary police officers march in front of Duanmen Gate of the Forbidden City, north of Tiananmen Square. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
Crowds of tourists and security personnel gather on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 2012. Multiple security cameras are visible on each of the lamp posts. (Reuters/David Gray) #
Police officers check photos taken by a man on Tiananmen Square, on June 4, 2012, on the 23rd anniversary of China's crackdown of democracy protests. (Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages) #
Zhang Xianling holds a photo of her late son, Wang Nan, who was killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, during an interview in Beijing, on May 28, 2012. Zhang said her friend Ya Weilin, a father of a man killed in the 1989 crackdown had committed suicide on May 25, 2012, out of despair and to protest the government's long-standing refusal to address the grievances of the victims' relatives. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
Tens of thousands of protesters take part in a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong's Victoria Park to mark the 23rd anniversary of the military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. Photo taken on June 4, 2012. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #
People take part in a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on June 4, 2012, held to mark the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are believed to have died when the government sent in tanks and soldiers to clear Tiananmen Square, bringing a violent end to six weeks of pro-democracy protests. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
AFTERMATH TIANANMEN REVOLUTION: TODAY CHINA
China, the most populous country and the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century. In this, the latest entry in a semi-regular series on China, we find images of tremendous variety, including astronauts, nomadic herders, replica European villages, pole dancers, RV enthusiasts, traditional farmers, and inventors. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks.
Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 16, 2012. China sent its first woman taikonaut into outer space this week, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, joined two other taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifted off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site. (Reuters/Jason Lee)
Tourists line the Great Wall of China during a weekend at Badaling, north of Beijing, on June 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #
A rainbow arches over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, on June 19, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
A vendor puts on a mask while awaiting customers in Beijing, on May 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) #
A multi-million dollar replica of France's historic Chateau Maison-Laffitte, the Beijing Laffitte Chateau, photographed on June 12, 2012. The Chateau, a luxury hotel, spa and wine museum, is located on the outskirts of Beijing. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Inside the Beijing Laffitte Chateau hotel in Beijing, on on June 12, 2012. The hotel is a multi-million dollar replica of France's historic Chateau Maison-Laffitte. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Kazakh nomads herd their livestock in a caravan across a plain in Altay, far west China's Xinjiang region, on June 2, 2012. The Altay, known in Chinese as the Aletai region, is situated in the most northern part of Xinjiang, sharing a border on the east with Mongolia and on the west with Russia. (AFP/Getty Images) #
A singer performs during the Opening Ceremony celebrations of the 3rd Asian Beach Games, on June 16, 2012 in Haiyang, China. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) #
Wang Jinxiang, mother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, cries as she talks about her son at their home in the village of Dongshigu in Shandong Province, located 600 km (370 miles) southeast of Beijing, on June 9, 2012. Wang described the details of her home detention with her son and the authorities' reprisals against their family after Chen Guangcheng's flight last month to the United States, where he is now living in New York with his wife and two children. (Reuters/David Gray) #
A member of an archaeology team unearths the head of a terracotta warrior at the excavation site inside the No.1 pit of the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, on the outskirts of Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on June 9, 2012. It is the first time that shields have been unearthed during an excavation. A large number of the terracotta warriors and horses bear traces of burn marks, which are suspected to have been caused by Xiang Yu, a military leader who rebelled against the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 207 BC), according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Farmers herd a flock of ducks along a street towards a pond as residents drive next to them in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, on June 17, 2012. (Reuters/China Daily) #
A contestant takes part in a pole dancing competition held in Beijing, on May 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
A laborer works on a residential building under construction in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on June 17, 2012. China's annual real estate investment growth slowed to the lowest pace since the global financial crisis, official data showed recently, stoking expectations that curbs on the property market may be eased. (Reuters/Stringer) #
An ethnic Uighur man lies on a couch as he keeps an eye on his belongings at his newly-demolished house, which made way for a residential complex in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on May 13, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A man uses his phone near illuminated red balls on a lawn, at the after show party for the Hugo Boss Black Fashion Show held in Beijing, on May 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
A child plays between two cartoon military statues on display outside a shopping mall in Beijing, on June 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #
A bridge crosses a canal that flows through the center of the Florentia Village in the district of Wuqing, located on the outskirts of the city of Tianjin, on June 13, 2012. The shopping center, which replicates old Italian-style architecture, covers an area of some 200,000 square meters, and was constructed on a former corn field at an estimated cost of US$220 million. (Reuters/David Gray) #
Pedestrians walk down an alley that resembles a Florentine-style street in the Florentia Village in the district of Wuqing, on June 13, 2012. The shopping center copies old Italian-style architecture with Florentine arcades, a grand canal, bridges, and a building that resembles a Roman Colosseum. (Reuters/David Gray) #
A newlywed couple poses for a wedding photo session in Shanghai, on May 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) #
The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft, Long March-2F rocket, and escape tower wait to be transferred to the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 9, 2012. (Reuters/China Daily) #
The Long March II-F rocket loaded with a Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, on June 16, 2012. China launched the spacecraft putting its first woman, 33-year-old female fighter pilot Liu Yang, in orbit. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
A photo of the giant screen at the Jiuquan space center shows the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft approaching Tiangong-1 module for automatic docking on July 18, 2012. Three Chinese astronauts entered an orbiting module for the first time, a key step towards the nation's first space station, a move broadcast live on China's state television network, as China aims to complete construction of a space station by 2020, a goal that requires it to perfect docking technology. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Chinese paramilitary policemen guard as tourists watching the customary ceremony of lowering flag at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on May 3, 2012. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Ehad from Bahrain (center) exercises with overweight Chinese people after acupuncture treatment at the Aimin (Love the People) Fat Reduction Hospital in the northern port city of Tianjin, on June 14, 2012. Obesity is a relatively recent problem in China and a recent report by the Chinese Association for Student Nutrition and Health said the number of overweight young people aged between seven and 17 had tripled between 1982 and 2002, a trend that had accelerated in recent years. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
A view of the makeshift camp for people affected by the 2010 earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai province, on April 23, 2012. Two years after the quake that shook a remote, mountainous corner of the Qinghai province, thousands of people are still living at the makeshift camp waiting to be relocated into new houses. Latest reports of the death toll has reached 2,698, according to Xinhua news agency. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #
A Chinese ethnic minority dancer performs a song and dance routine entitled, "Colourful Guizhou" in Guiyang, Guizhou province, on June 10, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
A vegetable seller reaches to collect money from a customer in her stall at a market in central Beijing, on June 1, 2012. China's inflation rate in May is likely to fall to around 3.2 percent from a year earlier due to a decline in vegetable prices state media reported this week, with China's annual economic growth expected by analysts to fall to 7.9 percent in the second quarter, the first dip below 8 percent since 2009. (Reuters/David Gray) #
Locals sit at the entrance of The Shelter nightclub, a former bomb shelter in Xuhui district, Shanghai, on June 2, 2012. The Shelter is one of a handful of former bomb shelters finding new life as commercial venues, ranging from clubs to clothing shops and even wine sellers. Hundreds of thousands of bomb shelters were built across China in the 1960s and 1970s to prepare for possible air raids from the then-Soviet Union amidst a souring relationship between the two communist countries. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #
Students from Tianquanjiajing Funeral Service school bow in front of a plastic mannequin as they begin an undertaker service class in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, on May 29, 2012. A new breed of young Chinese undertakers are fighting centuries-old taboos to gain social acceptance for their profession, saying they help the deceased and their families make their final parting with respect. There are more than 1,500 students across the country studying to become undertakers each year. Courses in funeral services take three years to complete and the service includes washing of the dead body as well as providing funeral make-up and dressing. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #
A woman carries her daughter who is wearing a mask as they make their way along a busy intersection in Wuhan, Hubei province, on June 11, 2012. The Chinese metropolis of Wuhan was blanketed by thick yellowish cloud, raising fears of pollution among its nine million inhabitants, as air pollution is increasingly acute in major Chinese cities and authorities are frequently accused of underestimating the severity of the problem in urban areas, especially in Beijing. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Chinese people enjoy a barbecue dinner next to their recreational vehicles (RVs) during a camping trip at a RV park on the outskirts of Beijing, on April 14, 2012. Chinese buyers bought an estimated 1,000 RVs last year. Experts, however, say the RV business in China is about to take off, benefiting domestic manufacturers and foreign makers alike. The RV China Association expects sales to increase 40 percent between 2012 and 2015 to close to 4,000. (Reuters/Soo Hoo Zheyang) #
Students stretch during a training session at a gymnastic course at Shenyang Sports School in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on May 9, 2012. Some 60 students, between the ages of 6 to 15, undergo a nine-year gymnastic program that includes foundation courses and gymnastic training courses at Shenyang Sports School. Those who are deemed to be outstanding may be selected to join the national team, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A worker sprays water on plants at an European-style houses in Hallstatt See, a replica of the Austrian town of Hallstatt, in Boluo county, Huizhou city, Guangdong province, on June 2, 2012. A group of Austrians whose scenic mountain village has been copied down to the statues by a Chinese developer attended Saturday's opening in China for the high-end residential project but were still miffed about how the company did it. The original is a centuries-old village of 900 people and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a China famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #
A construction worker walks with a ladder in the replica village of Austria's UNESCO heritage site, Hallstatt, in China's southern city of Huizhou, on June 1, 2012. Metals and mining company China Minmetals Corporation spent $940 million to build this controversial site and hopes to attract both tourists and property investors alike, according to local newspaper reports. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #
An usher waits in the doorway of a train, as a conductor watches remaining passengers board at the Beijing South railway station, on June 13, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray) #
An exiled Tibetan monk holds a picture of 50-year-old Tamdin Thar, who burned himself to death to protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet during a rally to stand in solidarity with Thar, in McLeod Ganj, on June 15, 2012. Chinese authorities have said they were investigating the death of a person by self-immolation in a Tibetan area of northwestern Qinghai province, where several Tibetans have in the past year set themselves on fire in protest. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Part of the vast skyline of Beijing, China, seen on June 12, 2012. Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population estimated at over 19 million people as of 2010. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Thousands of protesters hold banners as they march along a street, to protest and urge the Chinese authorities to carry out a proper investigation into the death of dissident Li Wangyang, in Hong Kong, on June 10, 2012. Li, a labor activist and Chinese dissident jailed after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, was found dead in a hospital ward in central China amidst suspicious circumstances, his family and rights groups said. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #
Workers try to clean up the blue algae from the Chaohu lake in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, on June 13, 2012. China's environmental authority has warned of the imminent danger of a blue algae outbreak in Chaohu Lake, the country's fifth largest freshwater lake, which is frequently hit by blue algae outbreaks between June and September. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Ethnic minority students study in class as they sit in front of a blackboard at a preschool in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, on June 7, 2012. An emblem of the Chinese Communist Party and part of a slogan which reads: "Great earth is the flowers' cradle, great motherland is our cradle" are visible on the blackboard. (Reuters/Stringer) #
An Air China flight attendant stands near model planes at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 68th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Beijing, on June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
Xiao Cao, a 57-year-old gay man, prepares for his dance performance as a cultural revolution red guard at a park in Shanghai, on March 13, 2012. China's gay community has long been on the edges of society but it is gradually becoming more accepted. Cao, who is an unemployed drag queen, is one whose life lifts the curtain on a less romanticized view of Chinese homosexuals. Living in an eight-square-meter apartment behind a public toilet and with a monthly income of 500 yuan ($79) from social insurance, he passes his days dancing in public and spending time with friends at gay clubs. (Reuters/Aly Song) #
Freshly-baked Oreo cookies pass along a conveyor belt at a Kraft Foods factory in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on May 30, 2012. Investment may be powering the Chinese economy but experiments like Oreo's gum cookie, a cookie with a glob of gum sandwiched neatly between a pair of Oreo's iconic dark chocolate biscuits instead of the creamy white "stuff", which for better or worse never made it to store shelves, are a reminder that consumption is rising sharply. (Reuters/Aly Song) #
A patient is stung by a bee as he receives an apitherapy treatment at a hospital in Zhengzhou, Henan province, on June 18, 2012. Apitherapy is one of the ancient methods of curing diseases by using honey, pollen, bee bread, propolis, royal jelly, apilarnil and bee venom. The therapy is claimed to be of use in several types of arthritis, neurological problems such as insomnia, migraine headaches, and neuritis, and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and herpes. (Reuters/China Daily) #
A worker paints a single-seater submarine designed by Zhang Wuyi and his fellow engineers at a shipyard in Wuhan, Hubei province, on May 7, 2012. Zhang, a 37-year-old local farmer, who is interested in scientific inventions, has made six miniature submarines with several fellow engineers, one of which was sold to a businessman in Dalian at a price of 100,000 yuan ($15,855) last October. The submarines, mainly designed for harvesting aquatic products, such as sea cucumber, have a diving depth of 20-30 meters, and can travel for 10 hours, local media reported. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A woman plants rice in Yingjiang, near the Myanmar border, in Yunnan Province, China, on May 26, 2012. Many still expect that the lifting of U.S. and European Union economic sanctions against Myanmar will boost trade from China's industrial regions through Ruili and other border areas in Yunnan, a mostly mountainous province that has close ties with all its Southeast Asian neighbors. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) #
Skyscrapers and lighted boats in the Pudong area of Shanghai, China are reflected in the Huangpu River at night, on June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)