Washington [US], June 4 (ANI): Marking the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, a survivor of the historic event recalled the courage of the famous Tank Man who stood firm in front of an army, the image of which led to becoming one of the symbols of 20th century.
Jianli Yang, founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China, narrowly escaped the June 4 massacre in 1989. “I escaped to America, and have since continued my human-rights work.”
Writing for the American weekly news magazine Newsweek, Yang recalled the photo of the famous Tank Man, taken during the Tiananmen massacre.
“Part of its power was not just that it showed one completely vulnerable man standing in front of an array of tanks, but also that the world knew about the events that had preceded the moment. The Tank Man had survived a massacre, yet here he was, still risking his life,” he said.
The Tiananmen Massacre was precipitated by the peaceful gatherings of students, workers, and others in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and other Chinese cities in April 1989, calling for freedom of expression, accountability, and an end to corruption. The government responded to the intensifying protests in late May 1989 by declaring martial law.
On June 3 and 4, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers fired upon and killed untold numbers of peaceful protesters and bystanders. The government has never accepted responsibility for the massacre or held any officials legally accountable for the killings.
Yang said that he was near Tiananmen Square in the early morning on June 4, just as gunfire began.
“The Tank Man photo was taken the next day, on June 5, the morning after, when the massacre was still ongoing. By any measure, this image is one of heroism. But how many heroes do we see?” he said.
Yang said Beijing’s streets witnessed many Chinese like Tank Man in June 1989, who stood face-to-face with the soldiers. “Yet there were also some soldiers, like the second Tank Man and the deserter, who refused the Communist Party’s orders.”
“Remembering this, I am convinced that the natural desire for dignity and freedom are not only present among dissidents. They exist in everyone,” he underlined. (ANI)