30 Years Ago: Violent Protests Reported in China

30 Years Ago: Violent Protests Reported in China

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the nationwide, student-led movement in China, and the subsequent military crackdown in Beijing. To mark the occasion, CDT is posting a series of original news articles from that year, beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 and continuing through the tumultuous spring. Read the full series here or follow it on Twitter.

From the April 23, 1989 New York Times:

A week of growing anti-Government protests turned violent for the first time on Saturday, spreading to the central Chinese city of Xian, where protesters attacked the provincial Government headquarters, injuring 130 officers and burning 20 houses, the official New China News Agency reported this morning.

The rioting, which included an attack on foreign tourists, continued for about 12 hours, the agency said. The volatile situation in Xian presented the Government with the substantial new challenge of controlling major unrest not only in Beijing but in other cities.

While pro-democracy demonstrations have taken place in several cities since the death on April 15 of the former Communist Party leader, Hu Yaobang, Saturday’s violence seemed likely to force the Government, which so far has acted with relative restraint to almost continuous demonstrations in the capital, to take a firmer line against the protesters. [Source]

See also a Danwei translation of a blog post by Laohu Miao in which he scanned the front page of People’s Daily from April 23, 1989, announcing Hu Yaobang’s death.

See also footage from April 23 in Beijing by German public broadcaster ZDF.

[This series was originally posted by CDT in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the protests. If you have access to additional sources of original reporting, video, accounts or photos from the spring of 1989, please send them to us at [email protected] and we’ll consider including them in this series. Many thanks.]



Google Ads 1


Giving Assistant

Amazon Smile

Google Ads 2

Anti-censorship Tools

Life Without Walls

Click on the image to download Firefly for circumvention

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.