It is just two days away. An event so great that it had repercussion all over China. No, it is neither the Beijing Olympics nor the Sichuan earthquake. It is the freedom fighter, one who rose against a tyrannical system on June 5, 1989. Fearless and daunting, this anonymous person stood in front of the approaching People's Liberation Army, and managed to halt its invasion for a moment so that the maimed and dying victims can have a chance to retreat from Tiananmen Square. The entire procession, although for only a few minutes, gave freedom fighters hope that one day China will be liberated from the pawns of its oppressive regime, that one day equality, freedom of expression and religion are no longer just mere slogans but constitutions which would protect its citizens from persecution and false imprisonment. The act of this individual was profound and was best described in Red China Blues by Jan Wong
"You'd better get out here," Norman said. It was noon on Monday, June 5, 1989. I dashed onto the balcony. A young man had leaped in front of a convoy of tanks. "Oh, no!" I cried. I held my breath. I was convinced he was going to die. My eyes filled with tears. Miraculously, the lead tank stopped. Standing underneath its giant muzzle, the young man looked like a kitten under a car fender. Annoyed at myself for crying so easily, I brushed away my tears so I could see clearly.Apart from Red China Blues, many Western media reported the event from witness accounts and broadcast the Tank Man, a symbol for defending freedom from totalitarian states worldwide, to audiences around the globe. Its value will never be forgotten and will forever be imprinted as an example of struggle against oppression, libel, and accusation conjured up by the current regime in China to falsely incriminate the freedom fighters. In the end, the struggle against targeted discrimination will continue and we will prevail. One day, equality will be upon us and that is when world peace will arrive.
The tank twisted left, then right. Each time, the man stepped lightly in front. After a few feints, the tank switched off its engine. The whole street fell silent. The young man seemed to know his way around a tank. He scrambled onto its caterpillar treads and up onto the gun turret. Was he trying to reason with them? Another heart-stopping moments later, he climbed back down. Now run! I urged silently. But he didn't. The tank cranked up its motor and edged forward. Again, the man stepped in front and blocked it. By then a few people on the sidelines had regained their wits and they hustled him to safety. The convoy continued rumbling down the Avenue of Eternal Peace.
Who was he? Some overseas reports claimed he was a nineteen-year-old student named Wang Weilin and that he was later executed. Another report said he had been sentenced to ten years. Neither story was ever verified. My own history was that authorities had no idea who he was, either. In 1994, a Chinese journalist confirmed my hunch. She told me that her bosses at the Xinhua News Agency had tried in vain to find the mystery tank man. "They wanted to show him to the world to prove that China doesn't kill people," she said.
Fight on, I say!
Long live June 4, 1989!