June 3rd and 4th, Tiananmen Boils Over

Having removed all remaining liberal voices in the party, Deng moved to crush the protests in the square. Beginning on May 20, troops shut down the square and began to arrest students. On the night of June 3rd, a second wave of troops worked their way from the outskirts to the center of the city, fighting their way through citizen-erected barricades as they went. Hundreds or thousands of protesters were killed by the advancing troops, although most of the bloodshed occurred outside the square.

Deng showed little remorse that the public approval he had enjoyed at the start of the Democracy Wall movement had turned to scorn. Stability had been preserved, whatever the cost, a pattern that would be common in the years to come.

Here former U.S. Ambassador to China Winston Lord discusses the factors that may have driven Deng to his violent choice: