History in the Making

Document Type



The word Tiananmen in any context now brings to mind the 1989 protests and their goals rather than evoking thought of a center for Chinese Communist Party Power. The 1989 Tiananmen Square activists chose to alter their surroundings in two distinct ways in order to create a space that would serve as a tangible representation of their feelings as a whole. The first way in which they chose to alter the Square came at the start of the protests when students systematically transformed the Monument to the People’s Heroes in the middle of the square to memorialize Hu Yaobang’s death. The creation of the statue named the “Goddess of Democracy” was the second way in which protestors reclaimed the space in the Square. This paper will analyze the ways in which protestors altered Tiananmen Square and will describe how the use of public space by the protestors represented their emotions, political aims, and a distinctive new generational culture.

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