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Tiananmen Square Massacre

  • Context (IE): Beijing’s Tiananmen Square massacre has completed 35 years.
  • In April 1989, students from universities in Beijing convened in Tiananmen Square to outline a series of demands focused primarily on political and economic reforms.
  • They also called for an end to corruption, censorship, and restrictions on fundamental rights.
  • Their demands garnered extensive public backing, attracting support from various segments of society, including pensioners, veterans and farmers.
  • May 1989: As the situation in Beijing grew more intense, martial law was declared.
  • June 1989: Heavily armed soldiers and armoured vehicles advanced into the city centre to forcibly remove the pro-democracy protesters from Tiananmen Square.

Dismantling of Hong Kong Tiananmen Square Memorial 2021

  • The 8-metre “Pillar of Shame” remembered the victims of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
  • The statue at the University of Hong Kong depicts a mass of torn and twisted bodies in a tall pile.

    Tiananmen Square Massacre - PMF IAS

    Credits: Artnews

  • It was erected in Hong Kong in 1997 during an annual candlelight vigil to commemorate the event.
  • Until 2019, a massive outdoor candlelight vigil was held every year on the anniversary.
  • Hong Kong authorities have banned the annual vigil for the last two years, citing COVID-19 risks.
  • Its removal is seen as an attempt to silence the pro-democracy protests.

Hong Kong Protests Against China 2019

  • 2019 protests were to oppose the government’s plan to allow extradition to mainland China.
  • The protest recalled the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement (2014) five years ago.
  • Broad timeline of protests:

Tiananmen Square Massacre - PMF IAS

Credits: Nagrik network

Pillar of Shame

  • It is a series of works by Danish sculptor Jens Galschioet, all the same height and typically made of bronze, copper and concrete.
  • They were erected in Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil and are designed to remind people of events to ensure they don’t happen again.

Boxer rebellion

  • A Chinese secret society initiated the uprising, the Yihetuan (Righteous and Harmonious Fists).
  • This group practised a form of martial arts that resembled boxing, at least to Western eyes.
  • The ‘Boxers’ embarked on an armed campaign to drive all foreigners out of China.
  • In some areas, the ‘Boxers’ were reinforced by better-equipped Imperial Chinese troops.
  • In June 1900, the growing violence forced foreign diplomats, missionaries, soldiers and Chinese Christians to take refuge in the Legation Quarter of Peking (Beijing) and issue a call for international help.
  • An eight-nation alliance quickly dispatched a 20,000-strong international force to help.
  • Lieutenant-General Sir Alfred Gaselee, a British officer of the Indian Army, commanded it.
  • The rebellion officially ended in September 1901 with the signing of the Boxer Protocol.
  • The rebellion contributed to the removal of the Qing dynasty in 1911.
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