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Tiananmen Square witnesses remember an air of celebration, and then ‘Orwellian silence’

Tiananmen Square witnesses remember an air of celebration, and then 'Orwellian silence' thumbnail

Student protesters and journalists in 1989 recall the joy and hope before the crackdown

It was mid-morning in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 1 June, 1989. Someone had turned on a boombox playing 80s disco music, and people began to dance. A young couple spins in a small opening in the crowd. The woman smiles slightly, her eyes almost closed, as her partner in a loose dress shirt and blazer turns her. Around them, people are clapping.

It is a photo that captures a side of the pro-democracy movement often overshadowed by what came after – the brutal military crackdown on the evening of 3 June and morning of 4 June. There is no official death toll but activists believe hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed.

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