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Causes and Effects
The Tiananmen Square Massacre occured on June 3rd to June 4th. Previously there had been students and intellectuals holding protests and were calling for democratic reform. The protests happened from April 15 to June 4 1989. On June 3rd the Chinese communist party leaders decided to put down the rebellion with military force.
Demonstrators were protesting and calling for democracy. On April 18th about 10,000 people went into Tiananmen Square and staged a sit-in. Later on demonstrations got more intense and started to escalate. On May 13th huge groups of students went into Tiananmen Square and started a hunger strike 2 days before Mikhail Gorbachev comes to visit. Support came from all of China because this was a way to fight against the government and many joined in on the hunger strike. On May 19 Zhao Ziyang made a speech telling them to stop or there will be consequences. He pleaded the student to not be so eager to throw their lives away. On May 20 Martial Law was declared. On June 3rd the tanks and armored APCs started to roll into Tiananmen Square.
This is a map showing where the Tiananmen Square Massacre took place.
The effects of the Tiananmen Square Massacre was that thousands of peopled died and the government censors all information about it. Many children and young adults may not even be aware of the Tiananmen Square Massacre because the government has basically removed the event from history.
This political cartoon represents how the Chinese government censor information and people that protest usually are threatened.
The Nuremberg Trials set the precedent that individuals could be charged with crimes even if they claim to have been following orders. At Nuremberg top Nazi officials were tried and found guilty for what they have done during WWII even though they claimed to have been following Hitler's orders. It is not always effective because when the UN finds out about genocide in a country they can't always just rush in and convict leaders as it could start wars. Another reason is the UN tends to ignore conflicts that don't really benefit them in any way. An example of this is Darfur.
There has been no solutions to prevent anything like this from happening again in China. China still has a tight grip on the population and the Tiananmen Square Massacre was erased by the Chinese government. The government is free to do what it wants unless the UN wants to step in and start a war. Any solutions so far have been ineffective because nothing is stopping the government to do what it wants.
Doing Something vs. Doing Nothing
If the UN had stepped in sooner than the whole massacre could have been avoided but if the UN had stepped in then that could have triggered a nuclear war. China was allied with the USSR and the US is associated with the UN. If something had been done then China might be significantly different from what it is today. If the UN had stepped in then the students protesting from democracy might have made some progress and China could have been more democratic. Had China not been allied with the USSR then the UN should have helped when they found out about the massacre. Action is justified when genocide is taking place and more lives are saved than lost. But in a broader perspective it was the right choice so stay back regardless of how bad it could have been. A nuclear war could have wiped out the whole planet compared to a few hundred thousand people. While the UN should have done something it was better that they didn't.
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