“Welcome the Class of ’89” Exhibit and the “Collection of China’s Spring 1989 Democracy Movement”

The Columbia University Libraries held the “Welcome the Class of ’89” exhibit in Butler Library Main Reading Room in the afternoon of Saturday, June 1, celebrating the 35th reunion of the Class of ’89 in the Columbia Reunion 2024. The Starr Library participated in the CUL concerted effort by contributing a group of items carefully selected from the collection on China’s Spring 1989 Democracy Movement. The special collection contains hundreds of original ephemeral posters, leaflet/handbills, newsletters, open letters, and petitions created and distributed in the 1989 movement. Many Class of ’89 visitors showed interest in the exhibit and appreciated the historical memories the items helped bring back.


The selection of the items includes the following:

  • “Our Slogans”
    Proposed slogans by the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Federation, May 4, 1989. Suggestions include “Dialogue, Dialogue, Equal Dialogue,” “Dialogue, Dialogue, Frank Dialogue,” “People’s Government, by People,” and “People’s Government, for People.”
  • “Publicity Slogans for Resolutely Stopping Upheavals”
    The government’s propaganda slogans for suppressing protests and demonstrations, which include “It is everyone’s duty to stop the turmoil!,” “Unite and restore normal order in the capital!” and “Safeguard stability and unity, ensure the smooth progress of reform and construction!”
  • “To All Compatriots of the Nation”
    An announcement to the people of the entire nation from the Peking University Students’ Autonomous Association, calling for action to stop tens of thousands soldiers from entering Beijing in the crisis of Beijing and China, during which the central government leadership was reorganized and 300,000 faculty and students were on hunger strike.
  • “Photos of Students and Citizens Demonstrating”
    The original photos, without timestamp or location, show that more and more citizens participated in the student-led democracy movement across Beijing and the country.
  • “An Announcement for an October 1 ‘We Have a Dream Rally for a Democratic China’ ”
    In 1989, several leaders of Chinese American organizations in New York and New Jersey sponsored a rally on October 1 – China’s National Day – in front of the Consulate General of China in New York to protest the Tiananmen Square massacre that happened the previous summer.
  • “An Announcement for the ‘Washington March for a Democratic China’ ”
    A 1989 announcement from the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars for the “Washington March for a Democratic China,” called “We Have a Dream: A Free and Democratic New China,” on October 1, China’s National Day.
  • “‘Welcome to Chinese Students’ by Jonathan R. Cole, Provost of Columbia University”
    A statement entitled “Welcome to Chinese Students” by Jonathan R. Cole, Provost of Columbia University, dated on August 1, 1989, which reaffirmed the University’s commitment to welcome and support freedom-loving students from China.

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