Eerily normal Instagram photos from Tiananmen Square on the anniversary of the massacre

June 4, 2013
June 4, 2013

One of the most striking features of the China’s protests in 1989 is how quickly life returned to normal after the crackdown on demonstrators in Beijing, at least on the surface. Chinese leaders were determined to restore social stability and keep the nation on its path of breakneck economic development, trading with the same Western countries that had condemned the crackdown. Chinese students who had demonstrated against the government while abroad returned to the mainland only years later to make a fortune in industries like real estate.

Today, on the 24th anniversary, life continued. Tourists, Chinese residents, and local security roamed the plaza that sits at the center of Beijing near an old imperial palace, the Forbidden City, and the mausoleum where Mao Zedong is buried. And while Chinese acknowledged the anniversary online, sometimes evading state internet censors, photos posted to Facebook’s mobile photo-sharing service Instagram, which isn’t blocked in China, were eminently normal.

Here is a selection of Instagram photos posted by tourists and Chinese nationals in Tiananmen Square on June 4.

Mystical and Forbidden #vampires and #unicorns #beijing #alert #givingcheeks

A photo posted by Stephanie O. (@starfishsurvivor) on

Loving life in Tian'anmen Square #selfie #china #girls #holiday #vacation #2013 #chinese #tiananmen #square #beijing

A photo posted by Bekkie Naylor (@bekkienaylor) on

🇨🇳 yum 🇨🇳

A photo posted by kalina 💀🌀🌗🐬👻🔮🍜💨👽💤⚪️💮🎠 (@drkalso) on

我爱北京天安门呐🎤🎤

A photo posted by Quincy Liao🐢 (@quincycniuq) on

#beijing

A photo posted by Berlin Ballet [o] (@kreuzfriedrichs) on

Taking a glimpse of history!

A photo posted by Leo Chan (@mrleochan) on

We're gonna gonna gonna take it!

A photo posted by frydrosdew (@frydrosdew) on

洗地。

A photo posted by shangliang (@shangliang) on

如果回到24年前的今天?1989.06.04

A photo posted by Joinin Kwok (@joinin_kwok) on

One of the only people to comment on the connection between the square and today’s date, Instagram user joinin_kwok, wrote, “What would it be like if we were to go back 24 years to this day? 1989.06.04.”

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