While possibly not the most effective, these protests were arguably one of the most important non-violent protest movements of the 20th century. Known as the June Fourth Incident in China, these student demonstrations in Beijing led to a wide scale movement against the Communist Party reforms of the 1980s, and this remains one of the most sensitive and censored issues in China today. The protests were forcibly repressed, with the government initially ordering a violent military response, followed by widespread arrests, expulsion of foreign journalists, stricter press censorship, strengthening of police and security services, and the purging of officials sympathetic to protesters.
Massive economic change in the China started to bring some prosperity but led to social problems such as corruption, leading some in the intellectual community to begin to consider democratisation being the only answer to uproot corruption. Following an economic reform meeting in Beidaihe in 1988 economic panic caused massive inflation and threatened are large percentage of people that came to be dependent on government schemes, amidst wide scale change that were forcing such schemes to cut costs. Likewise the states socialist ideology was subsequently being called into question as the growing number of private enterprises were leaving the government in a perceived legitimacy crisis, this created a divided government as well as divided society. Furthermore, education policy had generated an intellectual void in the country and universities failed to get enough graduates to meet market demands for jobs, facing harsh prospects students began to gather on campus in “Democracy salons” and become more politically active.