Today marks the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square. Many people remember the dramatic footage of “tank man,” the lone protestor who stood in front of a column of tanks in an attempt to prevent their movement against other protestors. The crackdown marked a dramatic shift in Chinese politics. In 1989, broad shifts were taking place across the Communist world. Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, was attempting to introduce sweeping reforms in the country. Those reforms quickly spiraled beyond his control, and eventually the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union broke apart, and Eastern Europe moved to democracy.
Similar protests erupted in 1989 in China, culminating in a massive, student-led movement occupying Tiananmen Square and demanding democratization in China. The Chinese government cracked down, condemning the protests as a “counter-revolutionary riot.”
In this video, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews one of the student leaders in the protest, Wu’er Kaixi, who was forced to flee China after the crackdown and now resides in Tiawan. In this interview, he offers his thoughts on the protest and the future direction of China in a post-Tiananmen Square era.