Tiananmen Square survivors call for transparency on account of ‘tank men’


(Beijing—May 17, 2019) Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, two survivors have created a petition urging the Chinese government to reveal to the world what happened to the man who stepped in front of a line of military tanks.

Carrying bags, the man, whose identity is still unknown, ventured into the middle of a Beijing street when he saw the tanks approaching and stared them down. When they tried to maneuver around him, he moved in front of them, risking his life to protect innocent people.

The petition, created by Tiananmen Square student protesters and massacre survivors Fang Zheng and Yang Jianli, posits that there were two heroes in this situation: the man who confronted the tanks and the soldier who refused to plow over or shoot the man, despite China invoking martial law against the protesters.

No one knows what has happened to these two people, and many fear they have suffered adverse treatment at the hands of the government for their actions that day. As a result, Fang and Yang are calling on the Communist Party to give an account of their fates and are urging the international community to join them by signing this petition.

“If we can get the Chinese government to tell us what happened to the ‘tank men,’” the petition reads, “it will help to push the door open to true, democratic reform.”

ChinaAid joins with Fang and Yang in requesting that China give a thorough and honest account of the fate of these two individuals, thereby recognizing the right of the people to peacefully protest for causes they believe in.

To see the full video of the man facing off against the tanks, please click here.

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