Tiananmen Square Guo Jian
Guo Jian with his 2014 Tiananmen Square artwork.

Even thinking about, let alone going to, Tiananmen Square in central Beijing fills the nostrils of Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian with the smell of blood and dead bodies. It's the smell, he says, of meat.

At one stage of that terrible night 30 years ago, Guo Jian, a final year art student at the Minorities Institute (now the Minorities University), took refuge with his classmates in a hospital just off the square. “There were bodies everywhere, piled up," he tells Crikey. "Doctors and nurses were crying, no one had any understanding of what was happening. The blood was so thick on the floor I was slipping over.”