Chronology of Chinese protests

By United Press International

Here is a chronology of the student-led protests:

April 15: Former Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang, a popular liberal, dies of a heart attack at age 73. He was ousted in January 1987 in a conservative backlash that followed nationwide student protests for democracy. Beijing college students tack up wall posters eulogizing Hu as a symbol of their aspirations.


April 17: Several thousand students in Beijing and Shanghai turn memorials for Hu into overt political protests, calling for democracy and the resignations of senior leaders.

April 18-20: 10,000 students stage a sit-in at the Great Hall of the People off Tiananmen Square and boldly try to force their way into the leadership office compound nearby until police disperse them. A similar incident occurs the next night.

April 22: Some 100,000 people jam Tiananmen Square as 30,000 students protest during the official funeral for Hu. Rioting erupts in two other cities as protests spread.


April 24: As the government mobilizes security forces and tightens censorship, students in Beijing launch a class boycott.

April 27-29: About 80,000 students and hundreds of thousands of spectators defy a government ban on street protests. Police are overwhelmed. The government offers talks with new independent student unions. Two days later, the talks are held but fail.

May 4: At least 50,000 students, cheered for the first time by average Chinese, march in Beijing on the anniversary of a 1919 student movement. Protests also occur in six other cities. Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang offers the first concession, saying ''reasonable demands'' will be met.

May 10: About 10,000 students march to support journalists protesting censorship, the first non-student group to get involved.

May 13-14: 1,000 students launch a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square to press their demands for talks with senior leaders. Worried about the Sino-Soviet summit, the government begins new talks with students the next day but they break off.

May 15: Concern over the hunger strikers brings more than 300,000 protesters and supporters into Tiananmen, disrupting the first day of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's visit.

May 16: Organized workers groups join protests for the first time, with 500,000 people supporting the hunger strikers.


May 17-18: More than 1 million people from all walks of life demonstrate peacefully in Beijing for two days, demanding resignation of senior leader Deng Xiaoping. Protests spread to nearly all Chinese provinces. As vast crowds protest, Premier Li Peng meets with students but rejects their demands.

May 19: With concern over hunger striker's deteriorating health conditions, Zhao and Li make stunning pre-dawn visit to the square, but offer no new concessions. Protests renew, and the leadership calls out the army. Zhao, who opposed the move, appears to lose power.

May 20: Authorities declare martial law in Beijing and launch a wide crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, sending out troops armed with assault rifles. Scattered clashes are reported throughout the city, but most troops are prevented from getting in as more than one million students and workers flock to streets, defying martial law, and thousands erect barricades. At least 45 students are reported injured.

May 22: Moderates led by Zhao appear to gain strength in power struggle with hardliners as army backs off trying to enforce martial law.

May 23: Navy and air force throw support behind martial law decree and Li, as most military commanders urge troops to move in and end standoff with demonstrators.


May 25: Hardliners name up to seven moderates, including Zhao, as an anti-party faction to be purged for opposing martial law and failing to check the democracy movement.

May 27: Students consider ending their occupation of square and hardliners led by Li appear to have solidified their control over moderate supporters of Zhao.

May 28: More than 50,000 students march in Beijing to demand Li's ouster and protest leaders vote to prolong their protests.

May 29: More than 100,000 people flock to Tiananmen Square as students vow to continue protest and erect 40-foot-tall statue dubbed ''Spirit of Democracy'' in the huge plaza.

May 30: Authorities demand students dismantle their ''Spirit of Democracy'' statue, branding it an ''insult to the national dignity.'' The students refuse and hold sit-in at police headquarters demanding release of people detained by security personnel.

May 31: Authorities try to rally public opinion against the democracy movement, attacking Western political ideas and ordering up pro-government demonstrations in which an effigy of dissident Fang Lizhi is burned.

June 1: Government declares blackout of foreign news coverage of protests and steps up displays of military muscle in bid to reassert its authority. Up to 200,000 troops reported surrounding the city.


June 2: Government charges foreign involvement in student movement and stages rally with anti-American overtones. About 3,000 students wearing pig masks and swastikas bicycle through city to mock pro-government demonstrations.

June 3: Troops move on Tiananmen Square in pre-dawn hours, but are turned back by thousands of civilians blocking their path. Clashes erupt later in day when soldiers backed by tanks open fire with automatic weapons, resulting in many casualties. Battles rage in several areas of capital.

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