It happened 23 years ago and to this day, no one has an accurate number of dead. Estimates range as high as 10,000 to as low as 800.
But the Chinese government chose the 23rd anniversary of the massacre to inititiate a crackdown on political opponents - a sure sign they have learned nothing.
Police in China beat and detained political activists marking the 23rd anniversary of the brutal crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy protests on Sunday, rights campaigners said.
Officers used violence against activists in the southeast province of Fujian and detained them, while more than 30 people who came to Beijing "to petition" were held and forced to return to their home province, the activists reported.
"Around 20 rights defenders were stopped by police and beaten this morning on May First Square," Shi Liping, the wife of activist Lin Bingxing, told AFP by phone from Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province.
"The police said they were going to 'beat them to death'. They took about eight people into custody, including my husband. I fear he has been beaten badly."
Police in Fuzhou contacted by AFP denied anyone had been detained.
People's Liberation Army soldiers stormed into central Beijing on June 3-4, 1989, firing upon unarmed demonstrators and citizens, killing hundreds if not thousands, as they ended six weeks of democracy protests on Tiananmen Square.
More than two decades later, Beijing still considers the incident a "counter revolutionary rebellion" and a "political storm" and has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or consider compensation for those killed.
In Beijing, police detained at least 30 activists from eastern Zhejiang province at a railway station Saturday and put them on a bus back to their hometown of Wuxi.
"The police told us it was because of June 4 (the day of the crackdown), that during sensitive periods they had to clean up unstable elements," petitioner Xie Qiming told AFP from the bus.
"No one was beaten, but there were no legal procedures either, they just forced us on to the bus and are sending us home."
Any mention of the 1989 protests is banned in state media.
Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. But there are plenty of people in China and around the world who won't forget. And rousting and beating protestors and peaceful petitioners will only make new martyrs for the cause and do nothing to put the massacre behind the country.