Tiananmen, the massive public square in the center of Beijing, is infamously the site of the June 3/June 4, 1989 massacre of unarmed protesters by Chinese security forces. But it also is in some ways the symbolic heart of the city: It is located around the corner from the walled compound Zhongnanhai, where China's top party elite live and work, and across from the Forbidden City, the massive palace museum that previously housed the emperor.
Since the Communist took power in 1949 -- Chairman Mao Zedong stood on a gate across from Tiananmen Square and famously proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China by saying "the Chinese people have stood up," -- the square has hosted countless parades, marches, mass mournings, mass rallies, as well as many acts of protest, large and small. Here are photos of Tiananmen, from 1976 to today.
In the photo above, a Chinese military policeman patrolling Tiananmen Square keeps a lookout for Falun Gong members on Feb. 6, 2000, a day after police cracked down on protesting Falun Gong members.
Stephen Shaver/AFP/Getty Images