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The Tank Man

The Tank Man
Apr. 11, 2006
90 minutes

On June 5, 1989, one day after Chinese troops expelled thousands of demonstrators from Tiananmen Square in Beijing, a solitary, unarmed protester stood his ground before a column of tanks advancing down the Avenue of Eternal Peace. Captured by Western photographers watching nearby, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the fight for freedom around the world. On April 11, veteran filmmaker Antony Thomas investigates the mystery of the tank man -- his identity, his fate, and his significance for the Chinese leadership. The search for the tank man reveals China's startling social compact -- its embrace of capitalism while dissent is squashed -- designed to stifle the nationwide unrest of 1989. This policy has allowed educated elites and entrepreneurs to profit handsomely, while the majority of Chinese still face brutal working conditions and low wages, and all Chinese must endure strict political and social controls. Some of these controls regulate speech on the Internet -- and have generated criticism over the involvement of major U.S. corporations such as Yahoo!, Cisco, Microsoft, and Google.

Producer(s): Antony Thomas


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