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Tiananmen: Haunting Before And After Pictures Show Square 25 Years On

04/06/2014 12:38 BST | Updated 04/06/2014 14:59 BST

As the world marks a quarter of a century since Tiananmen Square was turned into a bloodbath, these powerful before and after pictures show the true horror of a massacre China is desperate to erase from the history books.

Where a lone man once bravely tried to block a line of tanks, a busy junction bustles on. Where students once defied armed soldiers in a desperate call for reform, Chinese tourists can be seen posing with their smart phones.

The 1989 protesters wanted political justice and an end to oppression, but the crackdown was ordered after hardliners won a power struggle within the ruling Communist Party.

Beijing still does not acknowledge the event with any kind of memorial.

But these images show the world will not forget the day China's People's Liberation Army marched on its own people, guns blazing, and retook Tiananmen Square from the students pictured below.

The searing image of 'Tank Man', iconically standing up to a block a line of tanks near Tiananmen Square, and in a May 27, 2014 photo of the same spot, almost 25 years later.

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Cyclists demonstrate with posters reading "mobilize all citizens to crush martial law, protect Beijing," under a bridge where tanks are positioned on a road leading to Tiananmen Square, and, in a May 29, 2014, a jeep full of armed Chinese paramilitary policemen patrol under the same bridge in Beijing.

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Students are pictured resting amongst litter on Tiananmen Square as their strike for government reform enters its third week, while in a May 31, 2014 Chinese tourists use their smart phones and digital cameras to take souvenir photos.

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Medics rush a Beijing University student from Tiananmen Square after he collapsed on the third day of a hunger strike, while 25 years on high school students dressed in uniforms carry red flags onto a bus after they performed a ceremonial post guarding of Young Pioneers, a youth group under the Chinese Communist Party, around the Monument to the People's Heroes on Tiananmen Square.

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In April 18, 1989 a Chinese student leader read a list of demands to those bravely staging a sit-in in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and at the same venue almost 25 years later, the Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers can be seen marching to their positions before an honour guard performance for a welcome ceremony.

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The Peoples Liberation Army stand guard with tanks in front of Tiananmen Gate in 1989, meanwhile, in May this year Chinese paramilitary policemen are pictured marching through to clear tourists from the area for a flag-lowering ceremony on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

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LOOK: Tiananmen Square 25th Anniversary: Ominous Pictures That Show Countdown To Massacre

Chinese security personnel have swamped Beijing's iconic Square Wednesday, while the censorship on social media is cleansing any mention of the anniversary.

Foreign journalists have been ushered away from the square and passers-by have been searched and had their papers checked.

Chillingly, analysts say repression for the anniversary of the protests is even more intense than in previous years.

In recent weeks, the authorities have detained dozens of activists to ensure their silence on the anniversary.

The human rights organisation Amnesty International said the past few days have seen the Chinese authorities "ratchet up the repression."

"They appear willing to stop at nothing in their attempts to prevent people from marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown," William Nee, China Researcher said.

He demanded the authorities "cease this campaign of severe persecution."

"The authorities’ suffocating grip on freedom of expression will not stop people in China and around the world from remembering the victims of 4 June 1989.”

Tiananmen Square Anniversary