Interactive: Tiananmen in 1989 and Now

Associated Press

Tiananmen Square, in the middle of Beijing, has long been the center of political activity in China. But it is most well-known outside of China as the place where a student-led pro-democracy movement was crushed by the People's Liberation Army in 1989.

Hundreds of students and residents were killed when the army pushed into the city to retake the square from the student protesters.

China's official verdict is that the protests aimed to topple the ruling Communist Party and plunge the country into chaos. Protest leaders said they were seeking greater democracy and freedom, along with an end to corruption and favoritism within the party.

Wednesday is the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown that is a taboo subject in China. The ruling party prohibits public discussion and "1989" is banned from textbooks and Chinese websites.

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now:

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now: People cycling past armored vehicles parked in front of Tiananmen Gate near the square where students rallied for democratic reforms, and in the same spot almost 25 years later, a May 24, 2014 photo, bottom, shows a security guard watching an empty bicycle lane, still cordoned off from an area in front of Tiananmen Gate. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami and Alexander F. Yuan)

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now: A Chinese student leader reading a list of demands to students staging a sit-in in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and at the same venue almost 25 years later, a May 29, 2014 photo, bottom, shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers marching to their positions before an honor guard performance for a welcome ceremony. (AP Photo/Kathy Wilhelm and Alexander F. Yuan)

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now: A lone Chinese man standing to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Changan Blvd. near Tiananmen Square, and in a May 27, 2014 photo of the same spot, bottom, almost 25 years later, a convoy of cars drive across Beijing's Changan Blvd. near Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener and Helene Franchineau

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now: Students resting in litter on Tiananmen Square as their strike for government reform enters its third week, and 25 years later, in a May 31, 2014 photo, bottom, Chinese tourists use their smart phones and digital cameras to take souvenir photos as slogans are shown on electric screens on Tiananmen Square, in Beijing. The words in the slogans are "Prosperity, Democracy, Civilization, Harmony, Justice, Rule of Law, Patriotism, Professional Dedication, Integrity, Friendliness." (AP Photo/Jeff Widener and Alexander F. Yuan)

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now: Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops standing guard with tanks in front of Tiananmen Gate, and almost 25 years later, a May 28, 2014 photo, bottom, shows Chinese paramilitary policemen marching through to clear tourists from the area for a flag-lowering ceremony on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami and Alexander F. Yuan)

Slide the bar with your mouse to see Tiananmen Square in 1989 and now: A sanitation worker cleaning up Tiananmen Square which had been occupied by student protesters, and the same spot almost 25 years later, in a May 22, 2014 photo, bottom, a cleaner, wearing a red armband who is part of the civilian security informers, watches tourists on her electric tricycle in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener and Alexander F. Yuan)

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