Skip to content Skip to navigation

June Fourth 30th Anniversary (“六四”三十周年)

On This Day — June 3, 1989:

  • 1:00 a.m. The troops have blocked off all approaches to Tiananmen Square. Various people who witnessed the killings of civilians report to the BWAF and to the students’ Command Headquarters, urging them to withdraw.
  • 2:00 a.m. The first troop transport trucks enter the square. Chai Ling and Li Lu call on those remaining on the square to gather around the Monument to the People’s Heroes.
  • 3:00 a.m. Hou Dejian and Zhou Duo negotiate with army officials to give the students time to vacate the square. Withdrawal will be unconditional, officials reply, adding that it must take place before daybreak. They indicate the southeast as the safest way to exit.
  • 4:00 a.m. On the square the lights go off. The statue of the Goddess of Democracy is toppled by a tank.
  • 4:30 a.m. The tanks and the troops stationed in the north corner of the Square begin to move forward. Students vote and eventually agree to leave. The soldiers shoot out the students’ loud speakers. Led by the Command Headquarters, the students walk away from the Monument to the People’s Heroes toward the southeast part of the square. A row of armored vehicles moves slowly toward the monument. Other troops arrive from the west, squeezing the crowd. As the students leave, army tanks crush tents on their way. The student guards are the last to leave, with soldiers about 18 feet behind them firing warning shots.
  • 5:00 a.m. As the students pass Qianmen, residents line the streets and applaud. The army throws tear gas and shoots at students and citizens near the square and in other areas of the capital. Some people are crushed under tanks. The number of victims is not known.
  • 6:20 a.m. Tanks crush retreating students.

See HRIC chronology and resources.

China rises but 30 years after Tiananmen, crackdown remains taboo
Al Jazeera, June 4, 2019

Related:
HRIC’s “Unforgotten” project: profiles of June Fourth Victims
‐ Project subsite homepage
‐ HRIC statement
‐ Profiles of the “Unforgotten”

30 years ago: Crackdown in Beijing
China Digital Times, June 4, 2019

Beijing silent as tight security surrounds Tiananmen Square anniversary
The Guardian, June 4, 2019

In Beijing, disappearances and security controls ensure quiet Tiananmen anniversary
Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2019

Tiananmen anniversary draws silence in Beijing but emotion in Hong Kong
The New York Times, June 4, 2019

“We must do more than remember”: what Tiananmen means to the Chinese diaspora
The Guardian, June 4, 2019

Tiananmen Square: What happened in the protests of 1989?
BBC, June 4, 2019

Reporting from Tiananmen Square in 1989: “I saw a lot I will never forget”
Al Jazeera, June 4, 2019

时报“六四”档案:“街头的痛苦、愤怒和眼泪”
”In the streets, anguish, fury and tears”
The New York Times, June 4, 2019

Interview: “The ideas the students came up with were very good”
Radio Free Asia, June 4, 2019

Tiananmen Square: Japanese diplomats feared Chinese troops would storm embassy
South China Morning Post, June 4, 2019

EU still mourns Tiananmen crackdown victims: spokeswoman
Reuters, June 4, 2019

China rises but 30 years after Tiananmen, crackdown remains taboo
Al Jazeera, June 4, 2019

“I have never again returned to Tiananmen”
Voice of America, June 4, 2019

“Bearing witness is really all we have”: Memories of covering the Tiananmen aftermath
NPR, June 4, 2019

Thirty years on, China is still trying to whitewash the Tiananmen crackdown from its history
The Conversation, June 3, 2019

Remembering June 4th
China Digital Times, June 3, 2019

Tiananmen 30 years later: “Hope has not died” say Chinese dissidents
The Christian Science Monitor, June 3, 2019

Beijing after Tiananmen: Part 1
The Diplomat, June 3, 2019

“Sacred day”: Chinese remember Tiananmen killings by fasting
The Guardian, June 3, 2019

Washington Tiananmen vigil attracts first-timers for 30th anniversary
South China Morning Post, June 3, 2019

30 Years Ago: Residents Block Army Move
China Digital Times, June 3, 2019

寻找“坦克人”:自由与反抗的神秘象征
30 years after Tiananmen, “Tank Man” remains an icon and a mystery
The New York Times, June 4, 2019

He stayed at Tiananmen to the end. Now he wonders what it meant.
The New York Times, June 3, 2019

Tiananmen Square crackdown: 21 most-wanted student leaders’ stories
South China Morning Post, June 3, 2019

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Explore Topics

709 Crackdown Access to Information Access to Justice Administrative Detention All about law Arbitrary Detention
Asset Transparency Bilateral Dialogue Black Jail Book Review Business And Human Rights Censorship
Charter 08 Children Chinese Law Circumvention technology Citizen Activism Citizen Journalists
Citizen Participation Civil Society Commentary Communist Party Of China Constitution Consumer Safety
Contending views Corruption Counterterrorism Courageous Voices Cultural Revolution Culture Matters
Current affairs Cyber Security Daily Challenges Democratic And Political Reform Demolition And Relocation  Dissidents
Education Elections Enforced Disappearance Environment Ethnic Minorities EU-China
Family Planning Farmers Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression Freedom of Press Freedom of Religion
Government Accountability Government regulation Government transparency Hong Kong House Arrest HRIC Translation
Hukou Human Rights Council Human rights developments Illegal Search And Detention Inciting Subversion Of State Power Information Control 
Information technology Information, Communications, Technology (ICT) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) International Human Rights International perspective International Relations
Internet Internet Governance JIansanjiang lawyers' rights defense Judicial Reform June Fourth Kidnapping
Labor Camps Labor Rights Land, Property, Housing Lawyer's rights Lawyers Legal System
Letters from the Mainland Major Event (Environment, Food Safety, Accident, etc.) Mao Zedong Microblogs (Weibo) National People's Congress (NPC) New Citizens Movement
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Olympics One country, two systems Online Activism Open Government Information Personal stories
Police Brutality Political commentary Political Prisoner Politics Prisoner Of Conscience Probing history
Propaganda Protests And Petitions Public Appeal Public Security Racial Discrimination Reeducation-Through-Labor
Rights Defenders Rights Defense Rule Of Law Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Special Topic State compensation
State Secrets State Security Subversion Of State Power Surveillance Technology Thoughts/Theories
Tiananmen Mothers Tibet Torture Typical cases United Nations US-China 
Uyghurs, Uighurs Vulnerable Groups Women Youth Youth Perspective