During the spring of 1989, nightly news accounts filmed in China's Tiananmen Square alternately enthralled and horrified millions of viewers around the globe. Chinese students took to the streets demanding democratic reforms, only to have the government respond with deadly force. Could the brutal massacre on June 4 have been avoided? What did the students really want? How did power struggles within the government and among the protesters affect the final outcome? What version of events will be recorded in official Chinese history books?
This critically acclaimed, two-and-one-half-hour epic documentary revisits the events of "Beijing Spring" and explores the complex political process that gave rise to one of the largest popular demonstrations in modern Chinese history. The film gives voice to a wide range of Chinese citizens who directly participated in the protests-including the workers whose stories were consistently ignored by the Western press. It also examines publicly, for the first time, how the movement was hampered by internal schisms between moderates, who counseled patience and compromise with a seemingly intransigent government, and extremists who, despite their calls for democracy, had little understanding of it in theory or in practice.