Tiananmen Square, on the one hand a rally of solidarity, on the other, an iconic image of repression. Early on the morning of June 4th, 1989, thousands of Chinese troops rushed in to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. With tanks and tear gas the communist government brutally crushed a rag-tag band of students, peasants and factory workers demanding democratic reforms.
“… we should live peaceably. We don’t want army we don’t want gunshot and the army firing on the innocent people…”
The crowd gathered for weeks, demanding reforms in the communist system, rallying around the goddess of democracy. at times, nearly a million people filled the square – and when the crackdown came, the whole world watched.
At the center of the attention is this image: the so-called tank man, halting a column of tanks near the Beijing hotel on the fourth of June.
Wei Jingsheng has been trying to find tank man since he got out of a Chinese prison nearly a decade ago.
What’s the name of this person? Some people say it’s Wang Wei Ling but it’s not so clear because it cannot be verified. and one version of the story is that the person was run over by tanks, but that can also not be verified.
Yang Jianli, who was at Tiananmen believes the tank man is still alive.
“I remember once the former Chinese president Chang Xiu Min when he went to Spain and was asked about tank man. He said, “I assure you he’s still alive.” That means Chinese authorities are responsible for him. They know where he is and where he’s living.”
In the aftermath of tTiananmen Square, scores were killed, many hundreds more injured. The city was in chaos and thousands fled Beijing. Tensions remained high all summer, as dissidents were captured, imprisoned or left the country.
“The lesson we learned from the massacre is that the Chinese communists aren’t reasonable, you cannot talk to the government rationally. The majority of the chinese are now thinking how to end the communist party rule and build a democratic system.”
Since Tiananmen, chinese youth have turned from politics to making money. The communist party deflects calls for democracy by pointing to better living standards.