Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos


with 5 comments


Twenty-five years after the Tiananmen Massacre, the nasty brutish affair resonates on …. but only outside China. 

I have remembered June 5th in various ways over the last five years. With a contact sheet in 2013, with an interview with Charlie Cole, the photographer who took one of the iconic Tank Man photos in 2012. The year before, I remarked upon the Zeligian appearance of a former Chinese prime minister in one of the photos taken on the square. In 2009, I covered various versions of the Tank Man photos. In between, we saw the defacing of the Mao portrait during the protests and a defiant Ai Wei Wei. A profound irony is they cannot access WordPress from China, so I remain, as always, preaching to the choir.

I hate to keep banging on this drum but as a blogger of history, attempts to change history offends me to no end; and because of its economic power, China has gotten away with it too, aided by the biggest companies, latest being LinkedIn. In an anticipation of the 25th Anniversary, a stellar book is out: People’s Republic of Amnesia which every student of history and totalitarian regimes should read.

In a memorable passage, the author showed students at leading Beijing universities the photo above. The Chinese youngstars use many means to bypass the Great Firewall, but the black-out surrounding the history has been so effective,  so total that only 15 out of 100 of the students polled correctly identified the picture!!!

So dogs may bark, but caravans have moved on. Charade continues. I will keep on blogging about this photo and the Communist Party will keep censoring it.

We will meet again in next June.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

June 5, 2014 at 3:28 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. “God bless this man and those who stand up for what they believe and for what is right.”

    I don’t know whether this man (standing in front of the tank) was Christian or not or whether he had heard about our LORD Jesus Christ. But certainly I do believe that this man, stood up for what he believed. I also do not know what happened to him, is he a live or dead or in prison? But certainly this man’s heart wasn’t far from the Kingdom.

    knowing that, I also do know this, that many of us, those so called “Christians” and considering ourselves righteous in our own eyes, (pastors, people attending churches and people who do not attend churches) must also stand up for their believe and MUST bring our LORD into our lives and stand up for Evil. We should remember our LORD in our lives.

    Lets assume for the moment that (actually in reality is this) many do not believe or never heard of Jesus Christ, so then I need to use this earthly quote so they can understand this much clear as quotes from Edmund Burke says: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’


    June 5, 2014 at 4:23 am

  2. I would correct only the phrase of Mr. Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for a good men to do something”. Hey, this man is standing in front of a tank. This couldn’t be nothing.


    June 6, 2014 at 2:31 am

  3. The clamp-down in terms of media distribution this year were kind of insane. Above and beyond the usual stuff(censoring Tianmensquare, or Tianamenincident) they censored mention of the date, numerical ‘jokes’ that might relate to the date, images of candles and even the digital ‘smiley’ equivalent of Candles. In this I think you are right that the CCP has been very effective in indusing a state-wide amnesia in regards to the events, however I think there are also vast signs of resistance. Political organizers within China and Hong Kong organize covert mentions to keep the thing alive. I’ve heard, for example, about the evidence with regards this Photo before, but sometimes it’s a matter of asking the right questions. Students won’t recognize the photo, but if you tell them it relates to 6-4-89 they would know what you were referring to. Well at least those who are historically or politically engaged would. The CCP has been kind of obsessed with containing student protest since than, though interesting undoutably some participants in those events are now in positions of power within the government itself.

    I waffle back and forth myself on whether there will ever be a serious consideration on the events in question by the PRC, though I fear time and effective media control have resulted in it being a sort of closet issue effectively corralled. Still, people must notice how news of HK is seriously censored every June.


    June 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

  4. I remember walking into an appliance store on that day. That image, of the man in front of the tank, was on a TV screen. A stereo was playing, and I’m not making this up, Queen’s “We Are the Champions”. The juxtaposition was spell-binding.


    June 14, 2014 at 2:11 am

  5. […] is the time of year when this blog remembers the massacres at Tiananmen Square. Somebody has to. But this year, we change our tactics a bit and will recount how the Communist […]

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