Tiananmen Square, 1989
To all those who fought in 1989 for a better future of China
On April 15, 1989, Hu Yaobang, the ousted General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, died in Beijing. Thousands of ordinary people went to Tiananmen Square to mourn for his death. The college students in universities in Beijing soon turned mourning into a grassroots movement that called for political reform. They requested that the government officials’ corruption be stopped, the freedom of speech be truly guaranteed by the law, and so on. This event spread to many cities in China and abroad as well and lasted for more than a month. The event ended abruptly with government’s killing of hundreds of ordinary citizens on June 4.
During the event, thousands of media professionals and ordinary citizens recorded the happenings with their cameras. Nevertheless, the images that have survived the time are relatively few. Most of these high-resolution photographs have been exhibited for the very first time because, 25 years ago, the Chinese government confiscated cameras and film to identify and arrest people. A quarter of a century later, many ordinary people, whose faces were accidentally recorded in the pictures, may want to show their bravery to their children. This history has been intentionally obliterated by the Chinese government from the younger generations to the point that many young people in China have no recollection of what happened in Beijing in the spring/summer of 1989. These photographs will serve as a reminder of numerous ordinary Beijing citizens’ bravery and are exhibited in memory of those who died for their dreams.
This collection includes over 400 black and white photographs taken Dr. Edgar Huang, a faculty member from the IU School of Informatics and Computing on the Indianapolis campus. He was then a university instructor and a documentary photographer in Beijing. He traveled almost every day to different university campuses, different locations in Beijing, especially Tiananmen Square to record with his Nikon F3 all the exciting and sad moments. “Thanks to my beloved late wife, Lily Sun, who brought the negatives to the United States in 1994,” Huang said, “these photographs are now possible to be exhibited to the public.”