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The Tiananmen Square Massacre: Background information when reading Little Gods

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Little Gods

by Meng Jin

Little Gods by Meng Jin X
Little Gods by Meng Jin
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  • Published:
    Jan 2020, 288 pages

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Rachel Hullett
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The Tiananmen Square Massacre

This article relates to Little Gods

Man standing in front of tank at Tiananmen Square demonstrationOne of the largest public squares in the world, Tiananmen Square lies in the heart of Beijing. It's named after a monumental gate built in the 1400s leading into the Forbidden City; Tiananmen means "Gate of Heavenly Place." Despite the serene undertones of the name, however, Tiananmen Square has long been a site of political unrest and violence.

The most notable event in its history is a series of student protests that culminated in a brutal massacre on June 4, 1989. Earlier that same year, in April, liberal Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang died, and the streets were flooded with mourners, mostly students. This mourning soon took the form of protest—students took to the streets in order to demand political and economic reform. Throughout the 1980s, the Communist Party in China had seen a significant division between those who wanted the state to retain control and those who advocated for change. Students largely fell into the latter category, and had been devastated by the ...

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