I know it is probably a bit touristy and a bit cliche to visit Tiananmen square, but it is also the heart of the heart of China. I was a child of the 80's and while I don't remember much about 1989, I remember images from Tiananmen. It is moving and awe inspiring to stand where so much history has been made. It is something I recomend to everyone plus it is close to just about every major attraction in downtown Beijing.
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Keeping your distance
When going to the flag raising in Tiananmen Square be prepared for extra zealous security forces. It pays to keep your distance - don't worry, you'll still get good photos - and keep your backback on your chest. They're not a fan of people walking around with things on their back.