Students at Fudan University in Shanghai prepare to march in a demonstration: May 4, 1989
The student demonstrations in China that led to the 1989 Democracy Movement were triggered by a death. Hu Yaobang, a former Chairman and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, was admired by students for his support of greater civil liberties, a position which had led to his ouster two years earlier. After he died in Beijing on April 15, 1989, public mourning swelled into a broader expression of exasperation with the status quo. On campuses across China, students began to stage public events to not only memorialize Hu, but to make demands of their own. In Shanghai, the students of China's elite Fudan University were no less zealous than their friends in Beijing. A massive demonstration in Shanghai was staged on May 4, 1989, that brought tens of thousands of students and citizens into the streets. The date was significant: exactly seventy years earlier, students protesting the terms of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I began the May 4th Movement, an effort to politically mobilize ordinary Chinese citizens. One month later, on June 4th, 1989, Chinese troops opened fire on students and ordinary Chinese citizens in Tiananmen Square.
The photos presented here were all taken in Shanghai on May 4th, 1989, while the author was a foreign exchange student at Fudan University.