Remembering the Tiananmen Square Crackdown

The images are seared into popular memory, at least outside China, as a symbol of courage and defiance: Tanks leaving Beijing’s historic Tiananmen Square approach a lone man who holds his ground, blocking their withdrawal following a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Thirty-one years later the man’s identity and fate remain a mystery and the massacre has been all but scrubbed from history books and the internet inside the country.

But the reverberations from those events helped to shape today’s China into a security state in which staging such a demonstration would be nearly impossible.

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In This Story: China

China is the third largest country in the world by area and the largest country in the world by population. Properly known as the People’s Republic of China, the political territory of the country includes the former nations of Tibet and Hong Kong. The capital is Beijing.

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