China Backed by the army and Deng Xiaoping, Beijing's hard-liners win the edge over moderates in a closed-door struggle for power

The first act of China's great political drama of 1989 was played out with the panoply and sweep of a revolutionary grand opera. While much of the world watched, for a time, via satellite TV transmission, hundreds of thousands of students and sympathizers filled Beijing's Tiananmen Square, demanding greater democratization and an end to nepotism and corruption. On Saturday, May 20, with the government and the Chinese capital paralyzed, the curtain rang down ominously on Act I: Premier Li Peng, a principal target of the demonstrators' wrath, and President Yang Shangkun imposed martial law; troops from the People's Liberation Army (P.L.A.)...

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