A new perspective on the Tank Man


The New York Times Lens Blog has just published a heretofore unknown picture of the Tank Man from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. AP reporter Terril Jones had been covering the demonstrations and snapped a picture of the famous confrontation between an unknown man and a line of tanks. The Lens blog has more details. I am quite surprised Jones had shown the picture only to friends previously.

Lens also interviewed 4 photographers who each got the iconic shot: Charlie Cole, Stuart Franklin, Jeff Widener, and Arthur Tsang Hin Wah. This is not to be missed; great behind-the-scenes stories about the shooting conditions and the difficulty of getting the pictures out (involving toilets and poorly-dressed hippies!). Youtube has video of the confrontation and the PBS Frontline documentary Tank Man explores contemporary Chinese perspectives on the famous photo.

James Fallows reports about his experience in Tiananmen Square the night before the 20th Anniversary this week and his wife’s the day of and Shanghaiist has video of plainclothes police interrupting international news reports with, of all things, umbrellas.

Meanwhile, BagNewsNotes has a dispatch from Alan Chin in Beijing on the Anniversary, ChinaBeat has a ton of contemporary and historical reporting on the 1989 events, and there’s plenty more. DanWei’s must-read China news is another great place for a variety of reporting and remembrance; I can’t link to search results, so you’ll just have to type in the words yourself. And here’s a couple of stories about information about 1989 slipping past China’s censors in the past couple of years. Magnum’s also got a small but interesting edit of a number of photographers’ pictures from Tiananmen.

Meanwhile, further south, it’s been a couple of days just like all others.

3 Responses to “A new perspective on the Tank Man”

  1. carmen

    Thanks for the great round-up! I just wish I were home in HK to join the 150,000 others in Victoria Park…

    • M. Scott Brauer

      @carmen, Thanks for the comment, Carmen. Would’ve loved to be in HK for that, too. Love what you’re doing with the Livebooks blog, by the way.

  2. Patrick

    Great job really. The NYT shot as well as the interviews are very interesting. The umbrella video is hilarious (and sad).

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