High government officials have held a series of formal "dialogues" with selected groups of students, including another such meeting Monday, which was reported on the state-run television news. In a conciliatory gesture at Monday's meeting with students that was reported by the official New China News Agency, Yan Mingfu, a member of the Communist Party Secretariat, described the student movement as "good and patriotic" but said "there has been a negative impact on the dignity of the country."
Demonstrators have rejected the series of meetings between students and officials as irrelevant because they have not been with representatives selected by the protesters.
An official statement issued on behalf of the Communist Party and the government at midnight Monday urged students to abandon their protest in consideration of the interests of the state and the importance of a successful Sino-Soviet summit.
"The success of the summit meeting is in the interests of both the Chinese and the Soviet people and conducive to peace and stability of the world," the statement said, according to a report by the New China News Agency.
"As the hunger strike has been going on for several days and it is cool at night, some students have fallen ill," the statement added. "Leaders of the party Central Committee and the State Council are deeply concerned about this and they hope the students will return to their campuses as soon as possible."
The statement said that party and government leaders "are considering the reasonable suggestions and demands raised by students and will take effective measures to solve the problems" but that this must be done "in a stable environment."
'Calmness, Restraint, Order'
"What is most needed now is calmness, reason, restraint and order," it said.
Protesters reject the argument that their actions run counter to stability.
"The greatest pity is feudal dictatorship," declared a student speaker addressing a primarily non-student crowd at the edge of the square late Monday. "Stability can be established on the basis of broad democracy. With our present system, which is not so democratic, we cannot have true stability and unity."
The students have shown considerable organization and discipline in their protests, but the growing involvement of non-students has added a new element of unpredictability.
Late Monday, with close to 100,000 people still gathered in the square, a crowd of thousands of mostly non-student protesters pressed against a single line of soldiers on the broad stairs of the main entrance to the Great Hall of the People.
Soldiers on Stairs
While not seriously attempting to break through, the crowd repeatedly became unruly, and for a period it forced the line of soldiers to move back up the stairs toward the glass doors of the hall.
"We're showing support for democracy and freedom," said a young worker in the crowd on the stairs. This man and others said people were pushing against the soldiers simply because the area was too crowded.
"There are so many people that it's hard to maintain order," he said.
A group of hundreds of well-organized students then pushed their way to the base of the stairs and began verbally and physically pressing the non-students to move back from the hall.
"Of course, they're supporting our demands, but we hope they won't take rash actions that would be a pretext for the government to take action against us, " said one of the students.
Various groups of students, workers and intellectuals staged marches to the square Monday and today to join the demonstrators. Those marching Monday included a group of more than 1,000 intellectuals composed primarily of Beijing University professors and instructors, plus some well-known writers and scholars.
KEY SITES IN BEIJING 1. Diaoyutai State Guest House: The Gorbachevs are staying here during their visit.
2. Zhongnanhai: The walled compound where many of China's top leaders live and work. Mikhail S. Gorbachev's meetings with some Chinese leaders may be here.
3. The Great Hall of the People: Some official meetings may also be here. Formal welcoming ceremonies are usually held in front of the great hall.
4. Tian An Men Square: The Great Hall of the People stands on the west side of this square.
5. Tian An Men: located on the north side of Tian An Men Square, this is the entrance to the Forbidden City.
6. The Forbidden City: The old Imperial Palace is now a museum open to the public.
7. Wangfujing St. The most famous shopping street in Beijing.
8. The Soviet Embassy.