What does the Chinese government say happened on June 4, 1989?

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This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Western media characterize the incident as a brutal government crackdown on peaceful protesters. What does the Chinese government say about it?

Very little. Neither the 1989 protests nor the ensuing massacre is included in Chinese textbooks, and many students today have never heard of these events. For the most part, the government avoids discussing the issue at all. The government does acknowledge that the People's Liberation Army intervened after seven weeks of demonstrations and that people were killed. But the official line is that, rather than crushing a peaceful protest, the military simply defended itself—and the country—against violent counterrevolutionary elements. ("Counterrevolutionary" is used in China in much the same way as "anti-American" in the United States.)

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