Friday, June 5, 2009


The Iconic Photos of the T@nk M@n...

Yesterday was May 35th (as some Chinese like to call it in order the bypass the censorship) and it’s the 20th anniversary of VIII-IX-VI-IV (another way of writing those infamous 4 numbers).

“It all started with a man in a white shirt who walked into the street and raised his right hand no higher than a New Yorker hailing a taxi,” James Barron wrote the following day in The New York Times. The picture appeared on the front page of this newspaper as well as in countless other publications around the world.

To this day, the identity and fate of the man in the picture remains unclear. A riveting documentary, “The T@nk M@n” by PBS Frontline in 2006 explored his fate. Yet still no one knows for certain who he is or what exactly happened to him. The image is largely blocked on the Internet in China. Despite its iconic status and historical significance elsewhere, most young people there do not recognize the photograph.

Few images are more recognizable or more evocative. Known simply as “tank man,” it is one of the most famous photographs in recent history. There was not just one “nk M@n” photo. Four photographers captured the encounter that day from the Beijing Hotel, overlooking Changan Avenue (the Avenue of Eternal Peace), their lives forever linked by a single moment in time. (photo from NYTimes)

Stuart, Arthur, Jeff and Charlie

And a never published one:

... And Daring The Censorship

In late February, Zhang posted without comment a Roman-numeral T-shirt design that's now making the rounds of other blogs as well as the foreign media.

VIII= 8 ; IX=9 ; VI=6 ; IV=4

Blogger's T-shirt gesture breaks taboo on Ti@n@nmen rebellion (Timesonline)

References to the 1989 army crackdown on student demonstrators in Ti@n@nmen Square are taboo in China. If mentioned at all, the protests are described as a “counter-revolutionary rebellion”. […]
His T-shirt reads VIIIIXVIIV. The photos are accompanied by a hint that reads: “Here’s a clue – these are four numbers.” […] “This year this kind of T-shirt is very much in fashion. The design is very beautiful (those who don’t understand should do some careful thinking, those who understand shouldn’t say a word)." […]
Chinese refer to the day when the People’s Liberation Army swept into Beijing to end weeks of demonstrations led by students encamped in Tiananmen Square with the loss of hundreds of lives simply as “6/4” or June 4. […]
Interview of Zhang Facai here

It also happened that yesterday was the day of site maintenance in china
Earlier this week the government blocked access to a number of popular western websites, in what was widely seen as way of controlling access to information about the events at Tiananmen Square. Among the sites that were screened out were photo-sharing website Flickr, Microsoft’s Hotmail email service and the popular online messaging site Twitter.

Check out some picture of popular website under maintenance here

What else happened 20 years ago?


  • Salman Rushdie publishes "The Satanic Verses". Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issues fatwa against him, declaring that his book is offensive to Islam.
  • US planes shoot down two Libyan fighters over in Mediterranean over international waters.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev is named leader of the Soviet Union.
  • P. W. Botha quits as South Africa's President.
  • Deng Xiaoping resigns from China's leadership.
  • The Czech Parliament ends Communists' dominant role
  • Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government. President Ceausescu and wife executed.
  • US troops invade Panama to capture General Manuel Noriega.
  • George H. W. Bush (a.k.a. "Bush Senior") becomes the 41st president of the US.
  • Cuban troops begin withdrawing from Angola.
  • Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete.
  • The Ayatollah Khomeini dies.
  • Berlin Wall comes down.
  • The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System is placed into orbit.
  • Last but not least Celine Mandaliti (future Suiter) turned 19!