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What the Tiananmen Square Massacre Has to Tell Us Today; We Better Start Listening

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Friday was the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre: June 4, 1989.

Student protesters in China had been peacefully protesting since April for political reforms, some even calling for democracy in Beijing, the center of which was at Tiananmen Square. That was when “peaceful protest” actually meant peaceful protest.

It was a heady and hopeful moment, where you had marches of a million people — with other, Chinese people joining and supporting the students. The world turned its attention to Tiananmen Square, where the students had gathered, knowing that something magical was going on, and hoping, hoping that perhaps that movement that was sweeping away Communism and oppression in other places around the world at that time would touch China and bring freedom.

But the Chinese Communists were watching, too, and they weren’t going to have that.

On June 4, 1989, Chinese soldiers in tanks moved in on the protesters in the famous square, massacring hundreds, perhaps thousands of them. There has never been an official count, because the government immediately tried to memory-hole the incident and pursue any of the remaining students and leaders.

They did this all in front of the eyes of the world.

One photo of one man’s bravery has come to reflect that day, as he stood in front of the tanks and scolded them, shifting and blocking them as they tried to move around him, even climbing on the tank. He became known as “Tank Man.”

You’ve seen the famous Tank Man photo, taken on today’s date in 1989. But have you seen the wide-angle version?

The one that makes it clear he wasn’t just standing up to a couple tanks, but the whole Chinese Communist regime?

Now you have: pic.twitter.com/VI7Iq0EAX8

— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) June 4, 2021

Here’s raw video from when CNN was a news organization.

“That guy, you see that guy?”


“There’s a guy who’s running in front of the tank. He’s standing right in front of it.”

CNN raw video, Chang’an Avenue, June 5 1989.
#六四32 #Tiananmen #天安門事件 pic.twitter.com/Ewh50NXhWh

— mhar4 瞻之在前、忽焉在後 (@mhar4) June 4,

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