Nearly a quarter-century on, it seems Beijing still can't avoid the heavy- handedness come June 4.
And so Hong Kong reporters waiting for the dawn flag raising at Tiananmen Square were detained for an hour for what was described as a routine check.
They were asked to delete any video footage taken and released after the ceremony was over.
Public security officers searched the equipment in their car and confiscated their identity papers for the duration.
Officers also refused their requests to delete footage taken of them.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemned the incident and urged the SAR government to press Beijing to ensure the freedom and rights of journalists carrying out their duties.
The association also said that the call by one officer to his men to "get the reporters" was unacceptable.
Elsewhere in the capital, officers closed the main gate of the cemetery where some of those who died in the crackdown are buried.
But some Tianamen Mothers, including Zhang Xianling, were allowed to enter Wanan cemetery through a side gate barred to the media.
They were not allowed to hold any ceremony at Muxidi, where the first troops entered the city 24 years ago.
Tiananmen Mothers leader Ding Zilin has been banned from visiting her son's grave. The family's phone and web lines were also cut.
"Though the arrangements for some of us to remember our sons and daughters was more reasonable than in past years, the overall surveillance is tighter," said Zhang, whose 19-year-old son was among those killed.
Zhang thanked Hongkongers for their persistence in holding candle light vigils for 24 years and said the territory is the hope for China's future.