Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tiananmen at 27: Who are the Tank Men?

What became of them?

Tank men face off on June 5, 1989 on Changán Avenue in Beijing, China
27 years ago today on June 5, 1989 in Beijing, following a massive and bloody crackdown after six weeks of protests that began in Tiananmen Square and spread across 400 cities in China, a man would risk all to protest what had taken place. He was wearing a whit t-shirt and black trouses carrying what appears to be a shopping bag and walked out on the north edge of Tiananmen Square, along Chang'an Avenue and faced down a column of Type-59 tanks.

Victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre
The lead tank tried two drive around him, but the man repeatedly ran in front of the tank to prevent its passing. The tank driver turned off his engine and the rest of the column of tanks followed suit. The protester climbed on top of the tank and began to talk with them. Eventually he climbed back down and the tank driver turned the engines on but the protester once again blocked the tank column.

Wider perspective of the Tank Man protest with the full column of tanks
This time two men, dressed in blue, approach the protester and escort him off the main avenue and disappeared into the crowd.

There were two tank men that need to remembered. The protester who had stared down the column of tanks and the tank driver, who unlike many others over the previous 48 hours, refused to run over the non-violent protester. This act of nonviolence is now remembered the world over and the unidentified protester known as the Tank Man an icon, but the tank driver who refused to crush him also needs to be remembered.

Between June 3 and June 5, 1989 other tank drivers ran over protesters
 The identities and the fates of these two men remain unknown today and people of good will are calling on the Chinese government to identify the two and reveal their fate.

Who are the Tank Men, what became of them, and where are they today?

Please sign the petition asking these questions of the Chinese government.

No comments:

Post a Comment