Chinese People's Movement 1989

The student revolt on Tian'anmen Square during the spring of 1989 led to one of the greatest political movements in the 40 year long history of the People's Republic of China. The student movement had become the vanguard of a mass movement, centered in Beijing, but spreading to other big cities in the country. The Chinese democratic movement called for freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. The Chinese authorities ignored the demands of the people and reacted with violence and brutality. After the repression of the movement there were no reforms. Many of the student activists fled from China and engaged in opposition from abroad.


The IISH has a unique and extensive collection about the Chinese people's movement. It was collected by the participants in the events in Beijing and in other major Chinese cities, with the assistance of IISH staff on the spot. After the army had put a violent end to the democratic aspirations of the Chinese, the collection of pamphlets, photographs, newspapers, tapes, banners and other objects was brought to safety in Amsterdam.


A chronicle of the Tiananmen Square protests in China 1989, illustrated by pamphlets, posters, textiles, and photos collected during the demonstrations.


The collection may be accessed through three data bases: the ARCHIVE data base for documents, the IKON data base for audiovisual material, and REPORT for newspaper clippings and eyewitness testimonies.
- A printout of the ARCHIVE data base is available as IISH Working Paper 14 by Frank Pieke and Fons Lamboo, Inventory of the Collection Chinese People's Movement, Spring 1989: Vol I: Documents (Amsterdam 1990).
- A printout of the IKON and REPORT data bases has been published by Frank Pieke and Fons Lamboo as IISH Working Paper 16, Inventory of the Collection Chinese People's Movement, Spring 1989: Vol II: Audiovisual Materials, Objects and Newspapers (Amsterdam 1991).
- Since 1991 the acquisition of materials on the events of 1989 has continued as part of the project State and Civil Society in China. IISH Workingpaper 29 is an inventory of the documents acquired as a result of this project: Frank N. Pieke, Agnes Ee Hong Khoo and Hudi Tashin, Inventory of the Collection Chinese People's Movement, spring 1989: Vol III: Further Documents (Amsterdam 1995).

The Working Papers may be ordered from Aksant Publishers