June 3-4, 1989: Troops clear Tiananmen Square of pro-democracy activists, ending seven weeks of demonstrations. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are killed.
Late June, 1989: President Bush bans high-level exchanges with China and blocks loans from international lending agencies. Sanctions eventually put in place include bans on exports of arms, satellites for launch by China, crime-control equipment, and a limit on cooperation in nuclear matters.
July, 1989: US National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft secretly visits Beijing in apparent contradiction of ban on such meetings. White House later says mission was to impress upon Beijing "the seriousness with which this incident [massacre] was viewed in the US."
December, 1989: A second Scowcroft trip aims to repair Sino-US ties and seek an end to repression in China.
November, 1990: Bush meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen. White House characterizes meeting as a "contact" rather than an "exchange."
December, 1990: Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Richard Schifter presents Chinese officials with list of 150 jailed dissidents, and says Chinese officials listened to rather than categorically rejecting the representation.
Feb. 1, 1991: In annual human rights report, State Department says China has sentenced at least 1,000 to jail or forced labor for 1989 democracy movement, and that forced confessions and torture are widespread.
Feb. 28-March 1, 1991: Assistant US Trade Representative Joseph Massey visits Beijing to seek patent protection for intellectual property and to open market to US products in effort to stem trade deficit.
March 10-12, 1991: Assistant Secretary of State Richard Solomon visits Beijing to discuss Cambodia, nonproliferation of arms, and trade deficit. Despite absence of discernible improvement in human rights, Washington has scrapped or diluted all sanctions but those on military hardware and related technology.
April, 1991: Foreign ministers from Britain, Japan, Soviet Union visit Beijing. Similar mission planned by French.