Terril Jones had been present at Tiananmen Square during the crackdown and has a picture of the famous confrontation between one man and a tank from a different angle. Since it isn’t available under a creative commons license, I won’t reproduce it here, but please look at it, I’ll wait. What’s notable in the picture is that ‘tank man’ choose this fight at some distance away and was already standing resolute even as others fled. There’s a terrific Frontline documentary on “tank man” available free online his actual name is unknown as is his fate. The confrontation ended when he was spirited away by unknown persons. His whereabouts are still unknown. At present, the iconic image is largely unknown to Chinese students, James Fallows passes along a few stories that show both how the events have been successfully censored and how the younger generations responds to learning about them.
The anniversary was proceeded by interesting news about Zhao Ziyang, here’s Dan Drezner with a summary:
It turns out that Zhao Ziyang, China's Communist Party chief during the Tianamenn massacre (and who was outsted for opposing a violent crackdown),secretly recorded a memoir of his time in power.
This is very exciting -- as the New York Times' Erik Eckholm observes, "In a sharp break with Chinese Communist tradition, even for dismissed officials, Mr. Zhao provides personal details of tense party sessions." In other words, there's some good dirt here for China scholars.
Drezner also notes that Zhao is taking credit for a central role on early economics reforms widely associated with Deng Xiaoping. Zhao Ziyang was a reformer, so this isn’t implausible, but it’s also obviously self-serving so should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, in opposition to the reference joke in the post title, Al Gore did provide key funding for the internet and that was all that he ever claimed to have done. Regardless, I’m definitely going to have to read that book.
My picture, available under a CC license.