Despair and Death In a Beijing Square

After weeks of hesitation, the regime cracks down, and an unleashed military commits a massacre against its own people


It was only a matter of time. For seven weeks the world had marveled at the restraint demonstrated by both Beijing's rulers and the thousands of demonstrators for democracy who had occupied Tiananmen Square. The whole affair, in fact, had developed the aura of a surrealistic ritual, with both sides' forces stepping in circles as if they were performing some stately, stylized pavane. Violence, it seemed, was out of the question. And then, early Sunday morning, the dance ended in a spasm of fury, the worst day of bloodshed in Communist China's history.

Until week's end it appeared that the army...

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