Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who Is The Tank Man?

When the western world thinks about the Tienanmen Square massacre of 1989, one image springs to mind: it is one of the the most iconic images of the 20th century.

British journalist Alfred Lee identified the man as Wang Weilin -- an account that no other journalist has ever been able to verify.

To many, it's frustrating that we cannot identify the man who provided one of the most iconic images of not only the 20th century, but in time of all time.

The Chinese government has certainly expended a great deal of time and effort in destroying this image. No sooner had the photo been taken then Chinese security services attempted to sieze the film, Fortunately, the photographer was enterprising enough to successfully hide it.

Today, just as many Chinese students never been told about the Tienanmen Square massacre (the further within China's borders one lives from Beijing the less likely one is to know about it), they don't know the Tank Man image.

The Chinese state has built an elaborate infrastructure to the suppression of such information. In such, they have successfully stunted the growth of the democracy movement.

It may not be inconceivable to think that the rest of the world will not see democracy and freedom in China until as many Chinese people as possible know the iconic image of the Tank Man, even if they may never know his name.

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