Tiananmen Square in Beijing symbolizes China’s determined march toward becoming a global power. Mostly known for being the site of massive pro-democracy protests in 1989, the third-largest square of the world is an epitome communist domination over China for the last six decades.
Born out of Mao’s vision to showcase create the most spectacular public place in the world and surrounded great monuments reflecting the national historical heritage, Tiananmen Square reflects of colossal aspiration of Chinese people.
Tiananmen Square derives its present name from the Tiananmen Gate built by the Ming Dynasty in 1415 as an entrance to the Forbidden City. The gate was destroyed in 1944 following heavy fighting between rebel leader Li Zicheng and the Manchus. The present square was constructed in 1651 during the Qing Dynasty and got its present manifestation following four-time renovations.
In 1860, a combine force of British and French armies encamped at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The hapless emperor allowed the foreigners to construct barracks and diplomatic offices around it. In 1900, when the Boxer Rebellion began, nationalists burnt down the foreign quarter and freed it briefly. However, the Europeans subdued the rebels and occupied the square and the nearby the Gate of China. Tiananmen Square saw massive protests during the nationalist May Fourth Movement of 1919.
When communists captured China, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China at the Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949. Mao selected the place as symbol of Communist domination for its national importance and ordered for its enlargement. The Gate of China, a Ming-era entrance to the Forbidden City, was brought down along with many residential quarters and reconstruction was completed in August 1959.
The renovation included construction of the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum and the Ten Great Buildings to commemorate 10th anniversary of the Communist rule. In 1977, Mao’s Mausoleum was built at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The National Grand Theatre was opened in 1990s.
On April 5, 1976, Tiananmen Square in Beijing was the scene of massive popular protest. The popular gathering following the death of Premier Zhou Enlai turned anti-establishment and thousands protested against the communist rule dominated by Mao’s wife and confidants. The government acted quickly and dispersed the gathering. Tiananmen Square in Beijing against the scene pro-democracy student protest in 1989 that ended with June 4 bloody crackdown by armored army vehicles that resulted in hundreds of deaths.
Tiananmen Square in Beijing has successively chosen by the Communist Party of China to showcase it strength while for anti-establishment forces it is symbol of opposition. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong announced establishment of the People’s Republic of China from it. It stood witness to massive parades and show of strength by China’s People’s Liberation Army in 1984 for the 35th anniversary of communist rule, in 1999 during celebration of the 50th anniversary and in 2009 for 60th anniversary.
Tiananmen Square in Beijing is surrounded by many public buildings and tourist attractions. The Forbidden City, city’s most prominent tourist landmark, is located on the square. The front gate of the imperial palace, known as the Tiananmen Tower, has been the place for public ceremonies since the Ming times. The Monument to the People's Heroes is at the center of Tiananmen Square. It is surrounded by Mao Memorial to the south, Great Hall of the People to the West and the National Museum to the east. Hundreds of tourists and locals witness daily flag hoisting ceremonies at Tiananmen Square.
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