When millions of Chinese citizens marched and gathered near Tiananmen Square 25 years ago, Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping called it "social chaos."  

This was a departure from the Communist leader's remodelling of society — the Four Modernizations — that had begun after the death of Mao Zedong.

In the spring of 1989, as the students in Beijing's Tiananmen Square were joined by hundreds and thousands more citizens calling for democracy and an end to Communist Party corruption, Deng saw his plan unravelling.

For seven weeks, they demonstrated for democracy. Hundreds of students went on hunger strikes.

Deng promised that "student protests will be ended by force."

He said the "Communist Party and the people must show discipline."

On the evening of June 3, 1989, the Communist leader called in the People's Liberation Army and tanks charged Tiananmen Square, killing protesters in their path.

Hundreds of peaceful protesters died on the spot as the wounded were rushed to hospitals.

In an act of righteous defiance, one student stood in the path of a column of tanks. He has become emblematic of a country on the brink of change.