Photo of the Day: Inflatable 'tank man' pops up in Taipei

As 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre nears, inflatable 'tank man' sculpture posted in Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

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Inflatable 'tank man' sculpture. (PTT photo)

Inflatable 'tank man' sculpture. (PTT photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre nears on June 4, photos of an inflatable 'tank man' sculpture have surfaced on Taiwanese social media.

Due to the increasing Chinese government repression in Hong Kong, the 2019 June 4 International Symposium will be held in Taiwan. The symposium will include a number of commemorative activities from May 18 to June 4.

Some netizens have already noticed the appearance of an inflatable mockup of the famous "tank man" photo at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei and posted images of it on the Taiwanese bulletin board system PTT.


Inflatable PLA tank complete with red star. (PTT photo)

Board Member of the New School for Democracy Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), Taiwan Foundation for Democracy Vice President Yan Jiann-fa (顏建發), and Taiwan Association of University Professors Secretary-General Chen Li-fu (陳俐甫) held a press conference on May 12 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. During the press conference, the organizers revealed a list of commemorative events, including the "tank man" art installation, as well as a candlelight vigil, lectures, and seminars.

On Monday (May 20), PTT users posted photos of the "tank man" exhibit on the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The sight of the massive inflatable tank and man drew many comments from Taiwanese netizens:

"Shina [derogatory term for China] will collapse."

"Place this until June 4 and someone will jump out and say 'don't provoke China.'"

"F***, who put it up? I'm beginning to like our government."

"The whole world understands, only Chinese people don't understand."

"Make it mandatory for Chinese delegations to visit."


"Tank man." (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The original iconic photo was taken a day after the massacre when an unidentified Chinese man stood in front of a column of tanks to block them from proceeding on Chang'an Avenue on the north edge of Tiananmen Square. As the tanks were departing the square after shots were heard, the man suddenly walked in front of the lead tank, causing the driver to halt the massive military machine.

The man then hopped on top of the tank and exchanged words with the driver. After hopping off, the tank started moving forward again, but the man again moved in front of it, causing it and the tanks behind it to halt again.

The man was later seen being whisked away by two figures dressed in blue into a nearby crowd. To this day, the man's identity and fate remain unknown.

Nevertheless, his act represents one of the most famous nonviolent actions recorded on film.


Inflatable "tank man." (PTT photo)