For most of us ‘Tiananmen’ conjures up the image of the lone citizen standing in front of the tank. This iconic picture as been the sign around which memory of the massacre twenty years ago coalesces.
However, in today’s Guardian novelist Ma Jian writes in honour of the thousands who were killed. It is a moving account, notable for the stories told by the former solider, now artist, Chen Guang, and the survivor who saw his friends crushed by a tank.
It is also notable for the photographs (three below) that accompany the narrative — especially the graphic image of the dead on the cover of G2, the wide-angle shot of the square with serried rows of tanks, and the injured protester making his way past groups of soldiers. These are not pictures we see regularly, and in their rarity they function as a powerful testament to the violence that ended those momentous protests.
See also The Guardian’s gallery for the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen.
(Update 3 June — The New York Times Lens blog features a great story, Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen, looking at the various versions of the ‘tank man’ photo.).
(Update 4 June — NYT Lens blog publishes for first time Terril Jones photo of ‘tank man’ from street level, in Behind the Scenes: A New Angle on History).
More updates in the Comments below
Photo credits: AP; Jacques Langevin/Corbis/Sygma