On October 1, 1949, the Peoples' Republic of China was established by the Chinese Communists Party headed by party leader Mao Zedong. From the beginning, campaigns were launched by the government to eliminate what was considered " class enemies".

Millions were persecuted. Agitators were sent to villages to create conflicts and polarization. Those decreed as landowners became marked men and their entire family blacklisted. When not enough landowners were found in a village, rich peasants were included as targets of "struggle sessions" during which time they were humiliated, demonized, made to criticize themselves, physically attacked, forced to kneel on broken glass or worse. Millions died as a result. The campaigns to eliminate "counterrevolutionary elements" and bourgeoisie elements were started in 1950 with millions executed or sent to the " laogai " labor camps.

To ensure complete control, groups of 15 to 20 families were watched by neighborhood committees which in turn were watched by district committees. Every person became a police informer and those who failed to inform were subjected to " struggle sessions". Owners of businesses, big or small, managers, anyone considered "capitalist" were asked to repent and to show true repentance they must denounce themselves and their colleagues.

Foreigners, Christians, clergies, were arrested and sentenced to years in prison. Intellectuals must attend months of self-criticism sessions to eliminate any thoughts not in line with the Party. For many, their only escape from endless humiliations and the avoidance of attacking their fellow colleagues was suicide. In the city of Guangzhou alone, there were days when over 50 people committed suicides.

The Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1957 initially called for the people to critique the government but it was soon followed by the purges of the same people for being "poisonous weeds" for their criticism . Millions, many of whom were intellectuals, were sent to " laogai"labor camps to die or linger for years.

By the end of 1957, the government had launched the eventual failed economic policy of the Great Leap Forward. Agricultural and industrial work were mixed in an attempt to create units of self-sufficiency. Production quotas were assigned and false reports of over productions were made. Learned from years of repression to submit to the dictates of the government, few were willing to tell the truth about their failures. When the greatest famine in the history of mankind ebbed in 1961, an estimated 30 to 42 millions of people had died of starvation. It was as if the entire population of 33 millions in California were to perish.

The Cultural Revolution which lasted from 1966 to 1976 brought out young people mostly from fourteen to twenty-two years of age called the Red Guards. They were instruments for Mao to consolidate his power. The Red Guards roamed the cities and villages attacking anyone who were not "Red" enough. People carried red books with Mao's sayings to prove their "redness". Encouraged by the government and exalted by Mao to view the "Party as our mother and father", these Red Guards would renounce their parents, denounce their teachers and anyone with authority whom they identify as "class enemies". The people who were targeted were paraded on the streets as monsters and animals wearing dunes hats with insults, rocks, and beatings hurled at them. Millions were executed, tortured or beaten to death. The homes of the targeted individuals were vandalized as well as temples, monasteries, and churches. Violence were sanctified and justified . The death of Mao in September, 1976 brought to the end the terror by the masses.

After the death of Mao, Deng Xiaoping came into power. Deng suggested that Marxism, as the source of all totalitarianism, should be discarded in favor of more democratic forms of socialism. He instituted the process of the Four Modernizations in industry, agriculture, defense and science. In an attempt to rid himself of his political enemies, Deng encouraged the Democracy Wall where opinions were posted. It was at that time that an electrician from the Beijing Zoo posted his article called, "The Fifth Modernization: Democracy". Wei Jingsheng argued in his article that without democracy, the other modernizations would be doomed. His idea soon became a topic of discussions among students at universities and among intellectuals. In 1979, Deng ordered the arrest of Wei . Wei was sentenced to fifteen years in prison . Released in 1993, he was re-arrested, and later sentenced to fourteen years in prison. He was eventually sent to exile to the United States in 1997.

As China began opening its markets to the world and investments in China were encouraged and promoted, the slogan of "to become rich is glorious" took the place of Mao's sayings. While economic freedoms cropped up in many parts of the country, especially along the coastal regions, political and civil liberties were still much suppressed.

It was under this historical context that in 1989 Beijing erupted with the largest spontaneous demonstrations the Peoples Republic of China had witnessed in its 40-year history. The pro-democracy movement spread to more than 40 cities around China before the world witnessed the horrors of the government's brutal crackdown. As the Chinese people fled from the tanks and guns, they asked the international press to just tell the world the truth. They asked the world not to forget.

It began on April 15, 1989 with the news of the death of Hu Yaobong , the former Communist party leader who had been ousted from power two years earlier. Wall posters began to appear mourning Hu's death for his previous support of the students. From the beginning, the students knew too well the risks they were taking, they insisted on non-violence and formed committees to self-police themselves to prevent any breach of the peace. As the students began to appear in Tiananmen Square, their message for democratization spread. They boldly spoke the truth about how they felt about the government. Their actions encouraged others to speak out. Knowing the price to be paid for independent thoughts, people who for years learned to hide their true views of the government suddenly found that their friends and neighbors were thinking the same way. The students' message of non-violence and their hopes touched the vein of the population and millions came out in support of their demands.

For a short shinning moment in the spring of 1989, the people in China, inspired by the students, suddenly found themselves facing the truth. It was then that they gave each other a precious gift, a gift of freedom, the freedom from fear. This is their story.