Beijing Spring
 A look back at the 1989 Spring that impacted a
nation. Scroll right to see the events unfold in
words and pictures, with archival video footage from
the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

April 15
Former Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang, a leading reformist, dies of a heart attack at the age of 73. Students at Beijing University put up posters praising Hu that indirectly criticize the opponents who forced his resignation following student demonstrations in 1986-87.
Photo: Hu Yaobang (AP)

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April 17
Thousands of students march in Beijing and Shanghai shouting "long live Hu Yaobang, long live democracy, long live freedom, long live the rule of law."
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Students march.
April 18
2,000 students from Beijing bicycle into Tiananmen Square and protest before the Great Hall of the People. Included in their demands for democratic reforms is the repudiation of official campaigns against freedom of the press.
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Student leaders, including Wang Dan.
April 21
Crowds of up to 100,000 demonstators gather in Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu.
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April 22
Students defy police orders to leave the square, while riots break out in the provincial capitals of Xian and Changsha. Official memorial ceremonies are held for Hu at the Great Hall of the People.
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April 23
Beijing students announce a boycott of university classes.
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Policeman supporting students.
April 24
Tens of thousands of students at Beijing universities go on strike, demanding a dialogue with the government.
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Student strike at Beijing University.
April 27
Bolstered by broad-based support, more than 150,000 students surge past police lines and fill Tiananmen Square, chanting slogans for democracy and freedom.
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Student rally in the square.
April 29
Government officials meet with student leaders, but independent student groups say they will continue a class boycott at 41 university campuses in Beijing.
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May 2
6,000 students march in Shanghai.
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May 4
100,000 students and supporters march on Tiananmen square to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China's first student movement, while similar demonstrations are held in Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities. 300 journalists protest outside the official Xinhua News Agency.
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May 9
Journalists petition the government for freedom of the press.
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May 13
2,000 students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square.
Photo: Student hunger strike.
May 15
Government deadline for students to leave the square comes and goes. A welcoming ceremony for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's state visit is moved to the airport.
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Rally on the eve of Gorbachev's visit.
May 16
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators occupy the square.
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Student rally.
May 18
One million people march in support of the hunger strikers. Li Peng, Premier of the State Council, issues a stern warning to student leaders and refuses to discuss their demands.
Photo: Li Peng (AP)
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May 19
A tearful Zhao Ziyang, China's General Secretary, makes a pre-dawn visit to weakened hunger strikers. Li also visits the students briefly. In the evening the students decide to end the hunger strike, but quickly change their mind when Li and President Yang Shangkun announce martial law. Zhao reportedly resigns or is ousted from power after failing to convince Li and others to compromise.
Photo: Zhoa Ziyang (AP)
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CBS Evening News
May 20, 1989
Bob Schieffer Anchors:


Dramatic footage of Chinese authorities 'pulling the plug' on Dan Rather who is reporting live from Beijing.
May 28
About 80,000 people (mostly students from outside the capital) demonstrate but, unlike past rallies, few workers participate.
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Yang Shangkun (AP)
May 30
Students unveil their "Goddess of Democracy," a replica of the Statue of Liberty, on the square. The government calls it an insult to the nation.
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"Goddess of Democracy"
May 31
Farmers and workers stage the first of several pro-government rallies in Beijing's suburbs.
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June 1
The Beijing Municipal Government bans all foreign press coverage of the demonstrations.
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PLA troops stopped by civilians.
June 3
Tens of thousands of troops advance on the city shortly after midnight, but are repulsed by residents who put up barricades. By the afternoon 5,000 troops appear outside the Great Hall of the People, but are again surrounded and stopped. In the final assault that evening, troops shoot and beat their way to the square.
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CBS Evening News
June 3, 1989
Bob Schieffer Anchors:


Exclusive video footage of the beginnings of the massacre. Correspondent Richard Roth is arrested.
June 4
Troops occupy the square and smash the "Goddess of Democracy" with tanks. The shooting continues with soldiers periodically firing on crowds gathered on the outskirts of the square. Residents set fire to more than 100 military trucks and armored personnel carriers. The government claims the "counterrevolutionary riots" have been suppressed. Meanwhile, riots break out in southwestern Chengdu.
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CBS Evening News
June 4, 1989
Dan Rather Anchors:


Richard Roth is released and is able to report in further detail of the night's violence.
June 5
There are reports of clashes between rival military groups around Beijing. President Bush condemns the "bloody and violent" crackdown and orders a suspension of U.S. military sales and contacts with the Chinese government.
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Photo: PLA troops confront civilians.
CBS Evening News
June 5, 1989
Dan Rather Anchors:


Richard Roth reports:
one anonymous man stops a column of 18 tanks.
June 6
Foreign embassies advise their nationals to leave China. The government says 300 people were killed and 7,000 injured in the crackdown, but claims most of the dead were soldiers. There are more reports of clashes between military units. Six people are killed in Shanghai when a train runs through a barricade. The U.S. State Department announces that dissident Fang Lizhi and his wife have sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy.
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June 7
Troops, responding to what they say is sniper fire, shoot into a foreign diplomatic compound. The United States and other governments order the mandatory evacuation of dependents of diplomatic personnel.
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Photo: wounded civilian.
June 8
Premier Li Peng appears in public for the first time since the crackdown to congratulate troops.
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An advancing tank.
June 9
China's leader Deng Xiaoping appears for the first time since May 16. In a speech to military officers he blames the turmoil on counterrevolutionaries attempting to overthrow communism.
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Deng Xiaoping (AP)
June 10
Beijing authorities announce the arrest of more than 400 people, including student and labor leaders.
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Photo: motorcycle crushed by a tank.
June 11
The government issues a warrant for the arrest of Fang Lizhi and his wife, saying they committed crimes of "counterrevolutionary propaganda and instigation."

Fang Lizhi (AP)
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June 12
The government bans all independent student and labor organizations and says police and soldiers should shoot all "rioters and counterrevolutionaries."

PLA tank on patrol.
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June 13
The government issues a wanted list for 21 student activists who led the democracy movement.

Student leader Wang Dan (AP)
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June 14
China orders the expulsion of Associated Press reporter John Pomfret and Voice of America Bureau Chief Alan Pessin.
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June 15
Three Shanghai men are sentenced to death for burning a train that ran over protesters. The nationwide arrest total reaches above 1,000.
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Soldiers seen through window of burned vehicle.
June 17
A Beijing court sentences eight people to death for attacking soldiers and burning vehicles during the June 3-4 assault.

A burned tank.
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June 18
Politburo member Qiao Shi appears prominently in the official media, adding to speculation the party security man will replace Zhao.
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June 20
The government nullifies all exit permits in an apparent attempt to stop fugitives from leaving the country.

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