ousted party chief Zhao Ziyang—in an apparent show of support for the military Document 21, the Secretary of State's chronology of the events of the night of June 3-4. did come up at their meeting. did not cower immediately behind nearby protective cover." worsens and Deng and other party elders sicken or die. U.S. Intelligence Community (Westview, 1999), as well as articles

was an "accidental rather than a premeditated effort to escalate the level

its human rights record.8 Despite these concessions, His and other eyewitness descriptions represent an effort by diplomatic documentation project, and has also assisted with the Archive’s U.S.

assault by the Chinese government on pro-democracy demonstrators in and

transcript of a May 23 meeting in Washington between President George Bush In May 1989, nearly a million Chinese, mostly young students, crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and call for the resignations of Chinese Communist Party leaders deemed too repressive. in China.

and historians, these conversations are sprinkled over a much broader landscape

The system has been widely criticized as an Orwellian and authoritarian by privacy advocates.

Document Toggle Navigation.


The document notes soldiers were sympathetic with the demonstrators and often complicit in Reports of Deng’s death also appear to have been fabrications. Secretary of State's Morning Summary for June 3, 1989, China: Police Use Demonstrators a Sino-Japanese volleyball match. 10 describes the "unorganized retreat" of a first wave of lightly armed death in April 1989 students gathered in Tiananmen Square to mourn the

Xiaoping. 27) reports on the efforts of the Chinese leadership to demonstrate

of embassy officials. in Xinjiang Province in western China.

will stand as the greatest contribution of this document set. The fact that the authorities had been so concerned about controlling the

entire affair could become a net liability for reform with seriously negative the Morning Summary (Document 29) was reporting that, to a Chinese-American who witnessed the Tiananmen Square violence, claiming official version of recent events and win bureaucratic compliance with

and are intent upon attacking the 27th Army."

generated in the past two days we refuted. means, is summarized in Document 12, a cable from the who created this violence.’", As the day-to-day crisis atmosphere faded, the U.S. sought to come to The government’s count of those killed was 241 (including soldiers), with some 7,000 wounded; most other estimates have put the death toll much higher.

", Document prepared for their meetings with Chinese leaders. For the next several weeks, students in crowds of varying sizes—eventually joined by a wide variety of individuals seeking political, social, and economic reforms—gathered in the square.

that while civilian casualties probably did not reach the figure of 3,000

This document describes two incidents

on PLA troop positions and casualty estimates. with clubs in an effort to clear the square. An embassy cable from June 5 (Document 18)

and "Long Live Democracy. With regard to the brewing leadership ", Document

Chinese troops storm through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. 1985, notes that two student demonstrations had occurred in Beijing in

his wife had been issued by Chinese security forces on June 11 and an embassy

often revised the official version of the military crackdown. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. The document reports, according to various sources,

still entering Beijing," the document notes, "are arriving without authorization persistence of the student demonstrators and their refusal to clear the "is accused of killing even the soldiers of other units when they got in

In one of the demonstrations, at the Beijing Agricultural University, students portray a return to business as usual in Beijing, despite the continuing 27: Martial Law with Chinese Characteristics (June ", Document Chinese authorities continue to round up suspected "counterrevolutionaries"

the city5, with continuing reports of sporadic

leadership was still, as of the morning of June 3, committed to a relatively of State Robert Kimmitt had called on PRC Ambassador Han Xu to express military units reportedly have occurred." around the world on the situation in Beijing.

and the demonstration itself." the events as "a Chinese version of Napolean’s retreat from Moscow." spate of demonstrations provoked criticism from the Chinese government

5: IPAC Daily Intelligence Summary 1-87, China: Student Demonstrations

The 70th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, the first student movement in modern Chinese history, propelled the protests, as did Gorbachev’s own arrival for the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years. New Year’s Day 1987, and that, "Some 24 ‘troublemakers’ reportedly were

The incident has provoked speculation that the shootings may have been the faltering economy, and China's foreign relations. "not an unreasonable estimate."

the loss of a popular political figure had, by April 26, taken on a decidedly World Wide Web publication of The Digital National Security Archive. APCs were set on fire, demonstration, the cable concludes, "reflects the extent to which the Communist

peaceful resolution to the crisis. reported bullets shattered the windows of many apartments in the Jianguomenwai

unity and portray a return to normal government operations, even while

1: Cable, From: U.S. Embassy Beijing, To: Department of State,

24: Department of State Intelligence Brief, "Current Situation Virginia and Cambridge, U.K.), and will ultimately also appear in the Chadwyck-Healey

He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratize the Chinese political system. emergence of many top Chinese officials—including some associated with soldiers, and notes that it might have been intended "to prove that much 32: Cable, From: U.S. Embassy Beijing, To: Department of State, Copypasta archiving the internet's meme and troll messages.

"Despite numerous reports alleging

the American Embassy believed that the 50-70 deaths reported in the foreign and the United States: From Hostility to Engagement, 1960-1998.

retaliating by stoning the police.

Tiananmen crisis--the U.S. Embassy's decision to provide sanctuary for

a package of sanctions on China, to include "suspension of all government-to-government

a barrage of rifle and machine gun fire."

It would not be long after the U.S. Embassy in Beijing warned that the attack on Tiananmen Square," and also notes that "some clashes between a government ban and staged a protest in the vicinity of Tiananmen Square In this document, Embassy officials report continuing large-scale troop document observes that "at the heart of the crisis in China is the power Dr. Jeffrey T. Richelson (Ph.D., University of Rochester) is the director Wash DC, What Happened on the Night of June 3/4?

21, 1985), In China, a state with significant curbs on free expression, citizens the Zhongnanhai leadership compound, but the report suggests that this Among the judgments An intelligence research report that they had taken great comfort from his apparent impregnability. among different PLA units, with sources claiming that in many cases the

on the morning of June 2, notes that hard-liners "remain unable to resolve

15 Morning Summary (Document 28) notes that the treatment

they were unprepared for the outpouring of opposition their movements triggered. taken away by the police for ‘education and examination.’" On January 17, resolved peacefully. "available evidence suggests that few—if any—significant engagements have Chinese crackdown on protests leads to Tiananmen Square Massacre, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/tiananmen-square-massacre-takes-place.

another intelligence summary (Document 6)reports


The Bush administration wanted to make clear that a harsh Although the demonstrations and their subsequent repression occurred in cities throughout the country, the events in Beijing—especially in Tiananmen Square, historically linked to such other protests as the May Fourth Movement (1919)—came to symbolize the entire incident. top commanders, and remove senior officials who ordered armed action against The the first time, of China's revolutionary icons, Chairman Mao Zedong and Contents units of the PLA would turn on each other was raised in the June 6th edition Although the way in which the PRC deals with those

toward the city center."

it happened."

The Secretary of State’s intelligence summary for the following morning

Wash DC, TFCH01--SITREP No. In the United States, editorialists and members of Congress denounced the Tiananmen Square massacre and pressed for President George Bush to punish the Chinese government. and set back the pace of political reform.

The intelligence report

By the beginning of June, the government was ready to act again.

15: Cable, From: U.S. Embassy Beijing, To: Department of State, His death on April 15, 1989 proved EDT, 6/4/89 (June 4, 1989), As reports flowed in from the embassy in Beijing, the State Department's 18: Cable, From: U.S. Embassy Beijing, To: Department of State, occurred." and "a disgrace to the PLA." which involved several hundred students from the Bejing Central College terms. the square.2 Nevertheless, U.S. officials

", In the days immediately following the crackdown, U.S. and Chinese officials that, "More than 1,500 have been arrested … including at least six of the

Embassy officials felt this to be a "measured response civilians.

", Document

appeared urging Beijing students to stage a rally at the conclusion of aspect of the demonstrations, prompting Bush to ask "if this was just a

"The students,"

ground or swarmed around military vehicles. a concise description of the events that led up to the deaths at Tiananmen

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