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The Enduring Mystery Of What Happened To Tank Man, The Most Famous Protester Of All Time

Updated 4 Jun 2020 27.0k views5 items

For a photo so well-known and easily recognizable, almost three decades later the world still wonders about the man who blocked the tanks at Tiananmen Square. Who was he, and what happened to him? The "Tank Man" photo is one of history's most famous, yet mystery shrouds the unknown rebel at Tiananmen Square, especially regarding his motivations and his ultimate fate. The mysteriousness has only added to the legend.

The fact that so little is known about what happened to Tank Man should not be surprising. China has a history of extreme censorship, and the actions of the government in crushing protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989 are among the most carefully concealed. Despite its worldwide notoriety, many people in China have never seen the Tank Man picture. To this day, photos of Tank Man and anything referring to the bloody massacre are banned in China. With all this secrecy, the mystery over the Tiananmen Square Tank Man picture may never have exact answers, but there are enough clues for us to conjecture who Tank Man was in addition to being one of history's great anonymous heroes.

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