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Tank Man

Written by: George Chittenden : 13 Sep 2019

This photo was taken in Beijing on June 5th, 1989 and is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. The photo was taken at the north edge of Tiananmen Square, along Chang'an Avenue on the day after the Chinese government's violent crackdown on the Tiananmen protests. The Chinese government had declared martial law and troops with automatic rifles and tanks had killed several hundred demonstrators who were trying to block the military's advance towards Tiananmen Square. The following day when this image was captured a column of Type 59 military tanks were sent by the government to disperse protesters and a lone man carrying shopping bags stood directly in their path and became immortalised in Western media. The identity of the man in the photo is not known for sure. He is simply known as Tank Man or Unknown Rebel, but some speculate that he was a student in his twenties named Wang Weilin.

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