How The Tiananmen Square Massacre Has Been Largely Forgotten

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Chinese Paramilitary police stand guard in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 2014 in Beijing, China. Twenty-five years ago on June 4, 1989, Chinese troops cracked down on pro-democracy protesters and in the clashes that followed scores were killed and injured. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, when university students occupied the square to protest corruption and call for democratic reforms. The government responded with force and fire.

So much of the history of that event has been forgotten. When NPR’s Louisa Lim visited some top Chinese universities, she found a majority of young people who could not identify one of the quintessential images from that protest — a picture of ‘tank man,’ a lone civilian stopping an oncoming line of military tanks.

Lim attempts to answer the question of how this happened in her new book, “The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited.” She discusses it with Here & Now’s Robin Young.


  • Louisa Lim, international correspondent for NPR, based in Beijing. She’s author of “The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited.” She tweets @limlouisa.
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