December 10, 2010 / 7:40 AM / 8 years ago

Factbox: Five facts about the Tiananmen Square protests

BEIJING (Reuters) - Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize to those who died in a military crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square.

Here are five facts about the student-led movement and the subsequent crackdown.

* China slid into economic chaos in 1988 with panic buying triggered by rising inflation that peaked at more than 30 percent in cities. Public discontent, coupled with the death of purged reform-minded Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, set the stage for the demonstrations.

* On June 4, 1989, after weeks of protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, troops backed by tanks crushed the demonstrations, prompting global condemnation. The number of people killed is disputed. Estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand dead, but the government has never released an official casualty count.

* The movement split the Communist Party leadership and triggered a power struggle that ended in the bloody crackdown.

* After the military sweep of Tiananmen Square, Deng Xiaoping plucked Jiang Zemin from relative obscurity in Shanghai to be the new Communist Party chief. Jiang replaced Zhao Ziyang, sacked for his sympathetic views toward the protesters. Zhao remained under house arrest in Beijing until his death in 2005. After the crackdown, the government called the movement a “counter revolutionary” plot, but has more recently referred to it as a “political disturbance”. * Several figures central to the student protests continued their advocacy after serving jail terms, Liu among them. Wang Dan was released early from an 11-year jail sentence, his second prison term, but was forced into exile in the United States. Wu’er Kaixi, an ethnic Uighur and 21-year-old hunger striker who rebuked then-Premier Li Peng on national television, was exiled and has not been allowed to return to China despite repeated attempts to see his aging parents.

Writing Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Benjamin Kang Lim

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