During the spring and summer of 1989, hundreds of protests erupted across China amid rising socioeconomic anxieties during the post–Mao Zedong era.
The April 1989 death of Hu Yaobang, a former leader of China's Communist Party and beloved figure to Chinese students, inspired many to assemble in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to express their vision for a new democratic China. They protested for a wide range of issues — including free speech, anti-corruption, freedom of press, and other pro-democracy causes.
Following weeks of continuous demonstrations, government troops armed with assault rifles and tanks advanced toward Tiananmen Square to dispel the protestors, resulting in tremendous violence that left scores of civilians dead. While the official number of casualties differs vastly across sources, it is estimated that anywhere from several hundred to 2,600 people were killed during the government crackdown.