Segments in this Video

Changing China's History (02:28)


Cameras captured a lone figure stopping a battalion of tanks; 24 hours earlier violence erupted in Tiananmen Square after the People's Army took control. Protestors never expected the military to crack down so hard on a non-violent demonstration. (Credits)

China in the 1980s (03:55)

China underwent a radical transformation, opening up to Western values and culture. Deng Xiaoping took credit for the country's success. "The Four Modernizations" promised a better future.

Origins of Protest (03:01)

Hu Yaobang's unexpected death increased the call for reform. Students traveled to Tiananmen Square to honor the General Secretary. Rallying cries included free speech, abolishing censorship, and a transparent government.

Communist Party Reaction (02:10)

Although Xiaoping stepped down, he continued to control the government through successors Li Peng and Zhao Ziyang. The Communist Party had not modernized and still controlled the people.

April 17th: Calls for Democracy (02:39)

Party secretaries argue about recent trends on school campuses. Students mobilized into a movement to challenge the communist regime. Dazibaos were hung to promote democratic reform.

April 19th: Protest Assault (02:14)

The Communist Party passed a motion to allow dialogue between the people and its leaders in 1987. Students traveled to Zhongnanhai to present proposals. Police were deployed to break up the demonstration and attack participants.

April 22nd: Yaobang's State Funeral (03:20)

Every senior official of the party attended. Students asked for free speech, abolishing censorship, and democratic reform. Armed police confronted the demonstrators; three students broke through carrying a petition.

April 25th: Government Reaction (01:08)

Li Peng was outraged by the calls for democratic reform. Xiaoping believed the students were rejecting the Communist Party and the socialist system.

April 26th: Editorial (02:23)

The "People's Daily" claimed the students' actions threatened to plunge China into chaos and sabotage. Its rhetoric evoked memories of the Cultural Revolution where thousands were executed. Red Guards threw Deng Pufang from a window.

April 27th: Public Protest (09:02)

Students from universities across Beijing demonstrated in the streets. Xiaoping's editorial gained sympathy for the protestors; the armed police never arrived. A dialogue delegation attempted to deliver petitions to the government.

May 1st and 4th: Reform (05:35)

Ziyang argued to open a dialogue while pressuring students to return to classes. Students marched in the streets of Beijing to commemorate the May Fourth Movement. Ziyang revealed the Communist Party's fracture in a speech to the Asian Development Bank.

May 12th: Hunger Strike (02:43)

Large scale protests erupted in 21 provinces. Students ate one last meal before remaining in Tiananmen Square until demands were met.

May 13th: Official Dialogue Begins (03:25)

Yang Mingfu was a reformist and sympathizer. The Communist Party promised to live broadcast the proceedings but canceled; students felt cheated and sabotaged. Xiaoping worried about China's international image in the wake of Mikhail Gorbachev's visit.

May 14th and 15th: Immovable Movement (02:54)

Elite intellectuals urged students to leave Tiananmen Square to deescalate the conflict. The protest gained international attention; Gorbachev's welcoming ceremony was held at the airport.

May 14th and 15th: Immovable Movement (00:00)

Elite intellectuals urged the students to leave Tiananmen Square to deescalate the conflict. The protest gained international attention; Gorbachev's welcoming ceremony was held at the airport.

May 18th: Hunger Strike Continues

May 19th: Ziyang Visits (07:27)

Ziyang apologized and urged to end the hunger strike; students did not know how the demonstrations would end. Martial Law was declared. People arrived to stop the People's Liberation Army from entering Beijing.

May 20th: Martial Law Begins (01:52)

Students abandoned the hunger strike and decided to permanently occupy the square. The People's Liberation Army was divided.

May 21st: Elders' Meeting (03:29)

Xiaoping requested the elders give public support to martial law. On May 22nd, Xiaoping ordered the state council and ministries under surveillance. New protestors arrived as the PLA withdrew to the outskirts of the city.

May 23rd: Workers Strike (01:53)

Workers decided to defend the students in Tiananmen Square. The government became worried about the multi-class protest.

May 25th: Multi-Class Struggle (02:30)

Tiananmen Square became an epicenter for hope to change the government. The crime rate dropped because thieves asserted they would stop stealing in support of the students. People were allowed free expression.

May 26th: Fatigue and Exhaustion (04:33)

Radicalized protestors began gaining momentum. Chai Ling advocated overthrowing the government and Peng. New recruits from outlying districts joined.

May 27th: Student Meeting (03:30)

Longest-serving leaders proposed that students suspend their protest. Wu'erkaixi and Wang Dan withdrew and vacated Tiananmen Square. Xiaoping secured soldiers throughout China to attack the demonstrators and released false propaganda.

June 1st: Propaganda (02:54)

Hostile forces supported the Motorcycle Flying Tiger Group, Dare to Die Brigade, and the Army of Volunteers. Art students constructed a statue modeled after the Statue of Liberty; Hou Dejian and Liu Xiaobo launched another hunger strike. Communist leaders urged Xiaoping to take action.

June 3rd: Politburo Meeting (08:44)

PLA marched on the square in the middle of the night; crowds took to the streets. Soldiers emerged from The Great Hall of the People to regain weapons. A report stated the People's Armed Police and Beijing Public Security would clear Tiananmen Square by 6 am.

June 4th: Violent End (11:56)

The PLA began to attack the demonstrators; soldiers came from underneath the square. At 4:30 am, the lights turned on and troops began to advance to the Goddess of Democracy. Dejian advocated for the students to leave.

June 5th: Aftermath (02:37)

A lone man stood in front of a tank and climbed aboard. Xiaoping continued to label the protestors as rioters. Yuan Mu denies that anyone was killed.

Tiananmen Square 2019 (04:29)

The tragedy of the demonstrators has been suppressed; no monument has been erected. China's 21 most wanted criminals include Wu'erkaixi, Dan, and Ling.

Credits: Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party (00:59)

Credits: Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party

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Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party

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Uncover the true story of the demonstration that changed China forever. On June 4, 1989, the world’s most famous pro-democracy movement ended in brutal violence, leaving thousands dead, and laying the foundation for China’s future.

Length: 112 minutes

Item#: BVL188622

Copyright date: ©2019

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