In May 2014, Front Line Defenders spoke with 3 prominent participants of the 1989 protests and asked them about their reflections on these protests 25 years later. Read the latest blog from Mary Lawlor commemorating the anniversary and its relevance to HRDs today.
How did the 1989 protests change China?
What did the CCP learn from the protests in relation to how it deals with HRDs today?
What is the legacy of the 1989 protests for HRDs in China today?
Do you see any potential for a movement similar to 1989 to take place in the near future?
What is the importance of international solidarity for HRDs inside China?

Shen Tong

Shen Tong is a Chinese dissident who was one of the student leaders in the democracy movement at Tiananmen Square in 1989. One of the 'People of the Year' by Newsweek in 1989, Shen Tong became a media and software entrepreneur in the late 1990s. He started the website Free Liu XIaobo to campaign for the imprisoned human rights defender.

Chaohua Wang

Chaohua Wang is a freelance essayist and researcher, with a Ph.D. in modern Chinese literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1989 she was an M.A. student in modern Chinese literature at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She was a member of the standing committee of the Beijing Autonomous Association of College Students in the spring of 1989 during the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square and was put on the Chinese government's "21 Most Wanted Beijing Student Leaders" list. She is the author of One China, Many Paths (2005).


Fang Zheng is a former student protester who was seriously injured during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. During the evacuation of the Square in the early morning of June 4, Fang was run over by a People's Liberation Army tank, which led to the amputation of both his legs. He is currently the president of Chinese Democracy Education Foundation.