It remains unknown how many died, when the Chinese government ordered the crackdown on June 4, 1989. Some say hundreds; others, thousands.
For seven weeks, university students had camped out on Beijing's famous plaza, flanked by the Imperial Palace and the Great Hall where the Communist Party met. Fuelled by the idealism and a desire for change, they called for political reform and liberalisation.
The movement began to spread to other parts of Chinese society and the government took note, not to listen, but to prepare to suppress.
That came in the form of army tanks rolling onto Beijing's streets on June 4.
A pre-digital revolution, the Tiananmen uprising of 1989 was captured old-style – on celluloid.
Photos courtesy of 64memo.com
This is Tiananmen, where a symbol of the lady of liberty looks over at the portrait of the late Chairman Mao which guards the Square.
The Wall of Democracy at Renmin University, Beijing.
Students who put this up at the university did not know how true these words would ring.
April 1989, mass mourning on Tiananmen Square for the death of pro-reform former Communist Party Secretary Hu Yaobang. This was the event that sparked off the student demonstrations that gathered, calling for greater political liberalisation.
April 18, 1989. Laying of a wreath on Tiananmen Square for the late Hu Yaobang.
Overseas Chinese students in solidarity with their counterparts on Tiananmen.
May 13, 1989. Thousands of students began a hunger strike. The banner reads, “Mother, I am hungry, but I can't eat.”
On the fourth day of the hunger strike, Tiananmen Square.
On hunger strike.
Students in Shanghai showing solidarity with their Beijing counterparts.
On Tiananmen Square, poised for victory.
Students braving the rain under the banner of Beijing University.
During happier moments.
Younger students joining in the cause.
June 4. The tanks came rolling in.
A bloodied demonstrator.
Aftermath. The scene on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 after the Chinese Army rolled in a few hours before.
June 6. A standoff in the Southern city of Chengdu.