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1989: Your memories of the Tiananmen massacre

Demonstrators had been occupying Beijing's Tiananmen Square for seven weeks, refusing to move until demands for democratic reform were met.

When it appeared the mainly student protesters could not be persuaded to leave, the Chinese Government said it would do whatever was necessary to stop this "social chaos".

But the ferocity of its reaction - using tanks and guns on unarmed civilians - brought condemnation from around the world.

Human rights organisations estimate several hundred demonstrators were killed in the Chinese army's brutal suppression of the protest.

What was your reaction to the reports of the massacre? Or did you know someone who took part in the protest?

Your memories

I remember clearly hearing the BBC and VOA tell lies about what happened. they said 20,000 people had been killed and that troops had opened fire on demonstrators.

To this day, BBC cannot produce a single photo of a dead person. Sure, there are lots of beaten and bleeding people but no killings. When will the lies stop?
R Merrill, USA

I remember like it was yesterday, sitting in my house on my 14th birthday, watching John Craven's Newsround while waiting to go out for tea.

That lone student and the column of tanks was such an emotive image that every time I see it, it makes me stop and think. Sometimes it makes me want to cry, other times it gives me strength in belief. I still wonder how it must feel to believe in a cause so completely.

This was a man I never knew, am never likely to, know nothing about and with whom I'd probably have nothing in common. He's still my hero.
Adam, UK

I remember watching the story of the massacre when I came home from school one day, and trying to explain what was happening to my little brother, who was only seven. The only thing I could think to say was that just because someone was right, it does not mean they always win.
JJ, Canada

This was the day that changed my life. I decided to leave Hong Kong to come to Canada, and never to return. I can never ever forgive and forget the massacre, and my hatred for the Chinese government will never abate, but only grows stronger as time goes by.
Tom Lau, Canada, formerly Hong Kong

I was only nine-years-old when I witnessed the massacre of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators. I shall never forget the image of that young student facing down a tank in the middle of Tiananmen Square - I believe it is a defining image of the decade.

Those images have stayed with me and even at such a tender age I realised that what we take for granted here (our democratic rights and civil liberties), others are denied and are prepared to die for!
Denise, Northern Ireland

I was nine-years-old at the time and I remember it being a public holiday weekend in New Zealand and waking up the following morning to find out the shear horror of what had happened in China the previous night.

I will never forget the now infamous image of that young and very brave student standing in front of the tank and defying the Chinese government's oppression against peaceful pro-democracy protestors. May he be honoured a true hero to freedom lovers everywhere.
Chris, New Zealand

Never in my life have I seen such atrocity since this (around the same time Romania was on the agenda and wasn't far behind ). The one thing I will take to my grave is the image of tankman. It was one man standing up in front of the world saying let me be, get out of my life, I want to live my life the way I want, stopping the fury of the Chinese [leaders] who still won't admit their embarrassment that a man on a pushbike could stop their military might.

Compliments should also go to the crowd who got him offside just in time. No-one seems to know his fate. Hope you are doing well my friend. I wish I had your courage. You will live forever in my heart. I heard you were 19 when you did this. When I was 19 I was absorbed in thinking I was the cheese and nothing could ruin my perfect life.

I would also like to send my respect to the tank driver who had the heart not to run over his fellow man. To you I say you are a decent human and how different this whole scene could have been if someone else was in the lead tank.

I respect you my friend 'cos I understand you had your commanders in your ear telling you to do it. Massive respect to all students there that day if the world had half your courage we would all be twice as safe.
Eric Doran, Ireland


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