Thus, authorities immediately ordered an end to the protests, and China cracked down firmly on all the protesters, with troops and tanks storming Beijing and its focal point, Tiananmen Square. Protesters fled from the carnage. Except for one lone bystander.
This man is either an enduring symbol of the human spirit or tragically nearsighted.
The bystander, holding shopping bags, blocked a line of tanks heading into the square, and then climbed onto a tank and started talking to the crew. This happened for a few minutes until two random people ran up and dragged him away before the tank crew could contemplate how they would clean their tank treads of protester.
That man, who briefly stopped the government tanks all by himself and appeared in one of the most iconic photos and pieces of video in world history, was never heard from again.
So Who Was He?
After the incident, reports were incomplete and contradictory. British newspapers reported that the man was possibly a 19-year-old student named Wang Weilin. Others said he wasn't. The paper went on to claim he was arrested for trying to subvert communism and for "hooliganism" (China apparently having a completely different idea of what "hooliganism" is). However, no man by the name of Wang Weilin, outside of a number of Guitar Hero avatars, is known to exist.
Frontline: Tank Man
"I don't care about politics, I just want to be known as Tank Man."