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Old 04-13-2006, 05:45 PM  
banyon banyon is offline
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Frontline: Whatever happened to the tank guy?


Xiao Qiang
Director of the Berkeley China Internet Project at the University of California, Berkeley.


Can you remember your feelings when you first saw photographs of that young man facing a column of tanks?

The first time I saw that picture on TV was when I was still in America, a Ph.D. student doing a physics experiment in a field. ... I saw what happened on the street with a young man standing in front of tanks. It took a while for that picture to sink in, because hours later I took off on an airplane on my way back to China. I wanted to do something, anything I can, to help my country and my people. ...

… It's this image [of the Tank Man that] came clearer and clearer in my mind and stronger and stronger, to say, this is what a human being can do with the face of human freedom and dignity in front of this violent power. That ultimate spirit of freedom will last longer than the strength of tanks and machine guns. ... Where [are] Hitler's Nazis? Where is the former Soviet Union? Where is Suharto's Indonesia or Pinochet's Chile? They're all gone, and the Chinese Communist Party and its dictatorship will be gone. And the men standing in front of tanks will stay. ... And that's what this picture stands for me. ...


... [You tried to find him.] What do you think might have happened to him.


Every year on that anniversary I get phone calls, interviews requests. I have journalists, I have teachers, I have students asking my organization where is [he]? Who is [he]? How is [he] now? But I don't have that answer. ... If this man has the guts to stand in front of tanks, I don't think he can be completely silenced about what he has done over the last 17 years, if he is a free person. But if he is in detention, given [that] we understand how powerful this symbolic act is, I'm pessimistic about what this brutal regime [would have done] to him these 17 years. I'm pessimistic about if he is still alive.

... I have made investigations, and I have met people who falsely claim that they were [he]. ... But somehow the power of that story is not getting weaker because of the time. Because we don't know who he is, it's actually getting stronger…..

Just look how hard the Chinese authorities are trying to wipe out this memory. Temporarily they had some success among the Chinese younger generation, among the certain part they can control, but they're trying to make people completely forget what happened, completely forget if ever there [was] a Chinese man [who stood] in front of tanks. But in the long run they are on the losing side. This memory prevails. The pictures are everywhere -- through the Internet, through the satellite TV's. The Chinese have known about their heroes, and this hero will inspire the Chinese again in the future battle for freedom. …


rest of article

premieres on TV on Tuesday, April 25, at 11:00 PM
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:49 PM   #2
jspchief jspchief is offline
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I just watched this on PBS the other night. It was a very good show.
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspchief
I just watched this on PBS the other night. It was a very good show.
Oh, I couldn't tell that it had already aired.

I'm definitely gonna tape it next time.
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Old 04-13-2006, 06:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon
Oh, I couldn't tell that it had already aired.

I'm definitely gonna tape it next time.
It was on last night or Tuesday.

I was a teenager when the Tienamen (sp) Square protests and massacre happened. I remember hearing about it, but didn't know many details. I had no idea it had escalated to what it did.

Anyone interested in the subject, and the effect it's had on China should watch.
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:19 AM   #5
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I watched it the other night too. Excellent documentary. Front Line is the leader in quality documentaries. I like Ken Burns stuff too.

I think tank man was probably executed along with every person that knew him or what he did.
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspchief
It was on last night or Tuesday.

I was a teenager when the Tienamen (sp) Square protests and massacre happened. I remember hearing about it, but didn't know many details. I had no idea it had escalated to what it did.

Anyone interested in the subject, and the effect it's had on China should watch.

Yeah, I never realized how massive that student and civilian uprising was. For some reason I also remembered tank man getting run over.
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Old 04-14-2006, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Frontline: Whatever happened to the tank guy?
He was sent to the Gulag to be a tank mechanic. *Badum pish!*
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