If Tank Man Protested Tomorrow, Would We Even Know About It?

This is such a big anniversary in HK. Benjamin Rowe has produced a wonderful piece of work on the iconic images of Tank Man. It deserves a huge audience.


It was June 5th 1989 when the man now only known as Tank Man or The Unknown Protester stepped out in front of a line of Chinese tanks to stop them leaving Tienanmen Square. This was the morning after the Massacre at Tienanmen Square when the protesters who had been peacefully protesting for over one month were killed by their own army. Tank Man walked in front of the tanks with two shopping bags and waited. The tanks stopped and then tried to move around him. He side stepped in front of the tanks again until they turned off their engine, Tank Man then climbed on top of the lead tank and appeared to have a conversation with the tank commander. Jumping down from the tank and they tried to move forward again. As they did Tank Man stood in front of the tanks blocking their way until two security…

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12 thoughts on “If Tank Man Protested Tomorrow, Would We Even Know About It?

  1. This was very moving, but also a crucial comment on reporting today. Kate Adie’s book The Kindness of Strangers, covers this and gave me a better idea of what actually happened.

  2. That was a great read.

    I did my bit for photojournalism- shot it in film. Seriously, it gaves me a (tiny speck of) feeling of what it must have been like to be a photo journo back in the day… 😉

  3. Interesting to see “Tank Man” from (literally) several viewpoints.
    Benjamin Rowe is obviously right about fewer real journalists in the worlds’ troublespots these days. It’s our fault for getting our news free online, instead of buying a newspaper.

    • True, John. I also miss newspaper because it was so useful for many other things. I mean what do young people eat their chips out of now? An iPad?

  4. A really interesting read. We were in Peking as it was then in 1983, on a cultural visit. When we watched this news unfold a couple of years later we were saddened beyond belief.
    Hearing how those journos got their film rolls out reminded me of the film ‘The Killing Fields.’ These guys deserve huge respect – they’re in a class of their own.

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