June 5, 1989 (a Monday)

A Beijing demonstrator blocks the path of a tank convoy along the Avenue of Eternal Peace near Tiananmen Square.

On this date, one day after the 27th and 28th Armies of the People’s Liberation Army brutally crushed the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, a single, unarmed young man stood his ground before a column of tanks on Chang’an Boulevard (Avenue of Eternal Peace) in front of the Beijing Hotel. Captured on film and video by Western journalists, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the struggle for freedom around the world.

Photo taken on June 5, 1989

About midday, as a column of tanks slowly moved east along Chang’an Boulevard toward Tiananmen Square, an unarmed young man carrying shopping bags stood defiantly in front of the approaching tanks. Instead of running over him, the first tank tried to go around, but the young man stepped in front of it again. They repeated this maneuver several more times before the tank stopped and turned off its motor. The young man climbed on top of the tank and spoke to the driver before jumping back down again. Soon, the young man was whisked to the side of the road by an unidentified group of people and disappeared into the crowd.

To this day, who he was and what became of him remains a mystery. He is known simply as the “Tank Man,” or the “Unknown Rebel.”

Yet, the struggle for freedom in the People’s Republic of China continues today.

One response to “June 5, 1989 (a Monday)

  1. Reblogged this on kjmhoffman.

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