April 15, 1989
Former head of the Communist Party of China, Hu Yaobang, dies of a heart attack.

April 19
Thousands of protesters gather around Zhongnanhai, the residence of top Chinese Officials near Beijing's Forbidden City.

April 20

Protesters occupy Tiananmen Square after rumors that some students demonstrating at Zhongnanhai have been arrested.

April 21
Students stage a massive strike at Beijing University. Half of the 10,000 students boycott classes.

An estimated 80,000 people march on Tiananmen Square to the Monument to the People's Heroes

Protestors present a seven-point demand to the government, calling for freedom of the press, more money for education and higher salaries for education workers.

April 22
Four thousand government and party officials attend a memorial for Hu Yaobang.

The government grants students the right to remain in the square during the memorial ceremony to commemorate Hu Yaobang's death. An estimated 200,000 crowd Tiananmen Square.


April 26
People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, publishes an editorial accusing a small number of people of spreading rumors, attacking party leaders and officials by name and instigating the masses to protest.

April 27
In response to the People's Daily editorial, a march of 50,000 students leaves Beijing University and marches to Tiananmen Square, when they arrive in the square they are joined by another 250,000 protesters.

May 4
This day marks the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the May 4, 1919 movement, known as Wu Si.

The democracy movement spreads to other provinces. Students at universities in Shanghai, Xi'an, Wuhan, Harbin, Dalian are go on strike.

May 13
Several hundred students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square.

May 14
On the eve of the first China-Soviet summit in 30 years, 2,000 students are on the second day of a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square. Students have equipped the square with a sound system and medical students are caring for the hunger strikers.

Education Minister Li Tieyeng holds a five-hour formal talk with Wuer Kaixi, the head of the Autonomous Association of Students.

May 15

The China-Soviet summit is a diplomatic complete failure for the Chinese government. Because of the demonstrators, the official procession in e Chang'an Avenue to Tiananmen Square, the traditional route for all officials visiting China.

May 16

The amount of protesters estimated to be in the square are one million people. About
3,000 students are on hunger strike. Beijing residents offer the students food, medicine and blankets. Taxi drivers transport protesters for free.

May 17
A general demonstration is called in Beijing. More than one million
people march in the city. The 3,000 hunger-striking students are
continually replaced with new students.

May 18

Prime Minister Li Peng and party chief Zhao Ziyang are shown on television visiting students in
hospitals.

Censorship in the press has been abandoned for the time being. The
People's Daily reports on all the demonstrations and calls for support
for the students.

In the evening, Prime Minister Li Peng accepts demands to meet with
student leader Wuer Kaixi, head of the Autonomous Association of
Students.

May 19
Party Secretary General Zhao Ziyang calls for the demonstration to stop.

The students vote to end the hunger strike because of rumors that the government intends to establish martial law.

May 20

At midnight Prime Minister Li Peng gives a speech announcing the establishment of martial law. He warns the People's Liberation Army will be brought in.

At 3:00 a.m. students react to the declaration of martial law by voting
to go on a massive hunger strike; 10,000 students immediately join in.

Civilians stop and talk to soldiers, and convince them not to shoot at the people. Martial laws passes without being enforced

May 21
All military convoys are totally blocked, barricades are constructed at
all crossroads.

May 22

The third day of martial law and still no effect. Entire military units
fraternize with the people, giving away uniforms and weapons.

May 23

One million people walk on Chang'an, the long avenue dividing Beijing
into north and south and passing through Tiananmen Square.

May 24

Zhao Ziyan is accused of betraying the party and of being a counter-revolutionary. President
Yang Shangkun reads the list of Zhao's crimes, accusing him of being entirely responsible for the unrest.

May 25

Zhao Ziyang's offices