This Week in HistoryThis Week in History: Week 23 (4 June 1989)

Chinese Troops Kill Protesters

Chinese troops kill thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

In 1989, the Chinese government used military force to suppress a pro-democracy demonstration by tens of thousands of unarmed citizens in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. The exact number of deaths is not known, but is believed to be in the thousands. The suppression put an end to a growing pro-democracy movement led mainly by students but including people from all walks of life in the communist state.

troops (noun): soldiers
pro-democracy (adjective): supporting a system where elected government represents people
protester (noun): person showing displeasure or disagreement about an issue
suppress (verb): keep at a low level; prevent; hold back
demonstration (noun): a public show of disapproval by a group of people
all walks of life (expression): a representation of all different types of people

Video of an unknown protester standing in front of Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square. One of the most famous images of the Tiananmen Square episode.

Mini Quiz

1. The protesters at Tiananmen Square were trying to bring about
a) a stronger communist government
b) a more democratic political system
c) higher salaries and lower prices

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2. The government brought the demonstrations to an end with the use of
a) military force
b) democratic debate
c) communist ideals

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3. In a democratic country, peaceful demonstrations by the country's citizens should be
a) suppressed by the government
b) made illegal by the government
c) permitted by the government

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Contributor: Matt Errey creator of Word Up