Everyone (at least in the West) seems to know about tank man, but there’s another story that’s not as widely known. It shines a whole new light on this and explains why the Chinese government is so heavy handed when it comes to this subject. It was more than just another autocratic crackdown on protestors, which while terrible are par for the course.
A good chunk of military units sent in to squash the protestors refused to carry out their orders, refused to brutalize and kill their countrymen. Some actively joined in on the protests, then units sent in to put a stop it joined in as well. This terrified the Chinese leadership so they sent in the 27th army group, largely comprised of illiterate peasant farmers with no connection to Beijing or its people, headed by a politically reliable officer. The 27th army group then proceeded to massacre everyone, not ‘just’ students and protestors, but their own comrades in arms, other PLA soldiers.
Read the British embassy report and tell me it doesn’t completely change your perspective. The CCP wants everyone to think this was just another protest, no big deal. It wasn’t, it was the time they almost lost control, and they know it. It’s why they’re so fearful.