For much of Chinese imperial history the emperor ruled from within the nested walls of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Named 'forbidden' after its strict exclusion of the Chinese people, this was one of the most enclosed and segmented centres of power in urban history. The revolution of 1948 brought the construction of Tiananmen Square outside its entrance. Conceived as the antithesis of forbidden space, the square was a representation of the 'people', designed to contain over a million of them on its 40 hectare unwalled expanse. From April to June 1989 several thousand students camped out on Tiananmen Square, periodically joined by up to a million supporters. Under the gaze of global television the largest urban plaza in the world also became the most visible, the least hidden. So symbolically charged has this place become that the presence of the people in the people's plaza undermined the legitimacy of an empire. Forbidden space has been re-imposed.