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Remembering The Tiananmen Square Massacre, 25 Years Later (PHOTOS)

06/03/2014 11:36 am ET | Updated Jun 04, 2014

On June 4, 1989, thousands of Chinese troops stormed Beijing's Tiananmen Square, violently ending a peaceful student-led protest that had been calling for freedom and democratic reform.

Tanks rumbled through the streets as soldiers fired on unarmed protesters in an attempt to disperse the outraged crowd. Hundreds, if not thousands, of demonstrators were killed in the assault.

According to a New York Times report from that fateful day, many protesters risked their lives to resist the army's attack. ''As doctors, we often see deaths,'' a doctor at a local hospital told the Times that day. ''But we've never seen such a tragedy like this. Every room in the hospital is covered with blood."

tiananmen crowd

This June 2, 1989 photo shows hundreds of thousands of Chinese gathered around a 10-meter replica of the Statue of Liberty, called the Goddess of Democracy, in Tiananmen Square.

tiananmen square massacre

A student pro-democracy protester flashes victory signs to the crowd near Tiananmen Square on June 3, 1989 in Beijing.

tiananmen square protesters

Civilians hold rocks as they stand on a government armored vehicle near Chang'an Boulevard in Beijing, early June 4, 1989.

tiananmen bodies

The bodies of dead civilians lie among mangled bicycles near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989.

tiananmen tank burn

This June 4, 1989 photo shows an armored personnel carrier in flames as students set it on fire near Tiananmen Square.

tiananmen square tanks

Chinese troops and tanks gathered in Beijing, June 5, 1989, one day after the military crackdown that ended a seven week pro-democracy demonstration on Tiananmen Square.

tiananmen tanks

In this iconic June 5, 1989 photograph, a Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east from Tiananmen Square.

The Tiananmen Square tragedy is a taboo subject in China, where the government has reportedly banned its mention in textbooks and websites in an attempt to erase the massacre from collective memory.

In recent weeks, reports have emerged accusing Chinese authorities of silencing scholars, journalists and activists as the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen tragedy approaches. According to Amnesty International, dozens have been jailed, interrogated or placed under house arrest as the authorities try to prevent people from publicly commemorating the tragedy.

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