20 years ago, Beijin’s Tiananmen Square roared with the sound of tank treads and gunfire. Hundreds lay dead and wounded, those still alive at the mercy of the People’s Liberation Army’s machine guns. The enemy that fateful day in 1989 were their own people, unarmed and defenseless, in protest of the Chinese government’s unwithering totalitarian rule.
The next day, out of the mist of the carnage, one of the most iconic images of human defiance was captured. A lone man, blocking a column of tanks, face to face with certain death from either the tanks themselves, or the secret police.
The resulting coverup of both the deaths and the incident itself is still ongoing 20 years later, the square itself having increasingly heightened security around this time each year.