30th Anniversary of Tank Man

On June 5, 1989, one day after Chinese troops “dispersed” thousands of demonstrators from “Tiananmen Square” in Beijing, a solitary, unarmed student protester” stood his ground before a column of “tanks” rolling down Cháng’ān Jiē (Avenue of Eternal Peace.)

The “identity” of the lone, brave protester giving a defiant “stop” sign to a phalanx of Chinese tanks “rumbling” into Tiananmen Square remains “shrouded in mystery.”

To most, he is known simply as “Tank Man,” a nickname given him by the British tabloids. His gesture has since become an enduring symbol of the “bloody” uprising in Beijing.

His “defiance” slowed down the government “crackdown” on Tiananmen Square protesters. Wearing a simple white shirt, dark pants and carrying two shopping bags initially halted the tanks by displaying the palm of his right hand in what is universally recognized as the signal for “stop.”

The tanks did indeed stop, and “Tank Man” was seen climbing up the front of the lead tank, and standing on it for several moments, during which time he spoke with a crew member.

Though the tanks attempted to “maneuver” around Tank Man, he repeatedly moved to “block” their path. Soon two men forcibly removed “Tank Man” from his position and carried him off, after which the tanks proceeded on their way.

Captured by Western photographers watching nearby, this extraordinary confrontation became an “icon” of the fight for “freedom” around the world.

His identity has never been “confirmed” and what happened to him remains “unknown.” A British publication, reported that his name was Wang Weilin, a 19-year-old student arrested for “political hooliganism.” Varying reports suggested the student was either “imprisoned or executed.”

Chinese officials have to this date “refused” to confirm his name or whereabouts in response to numerous queries from Western journalists in the years since the incident. In fact, they claim they were unable to “locate” him.

The iconic “Tank Man” photo remains one of the most heavily “censored” images on the Chinese Internet, along with anything related to the “Tiananmen Square” massacre.

United States government files “declassified” in 2014 estimated there had been 10,454 deaths and 40,000 injured. This figure was from internal Chinese government files obtained from the Chinese government headquarters in Zhongnanhai.

In British government files “declassified” and made public in December 2017, it was revealed that Alan Ewen Donald, who served as the United Kingdom’s ambassador to China from 1988 to 1991, had reported in 1989 that a member of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China had estimated the civilian death toll at 10,000.

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