The 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 is this month and it bears remembering. Led primarily by students and intellectuals, the protests centered around hope for democratic and economic reforms.
After weeks of protests and government crackdowns around the country, tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square to emphatically quash the protests and reassert government authority. On June 5, as the tanks were rolling into position, one anonymous man found himself face to face with authoritarianism and, for a brief moment, stood his ground. Several photographers captured the remarkable moment, which became an icon of popular resistance against totalitarian power.
Though it has never been confirmed, it is widely assumed that the Tank Man of Tiananmen was eventually executed. His legacy, though, has spread around the world, inspiring thousands to stand up in the face of oppressive regimes from positions of relative powerlessness--a remarkably Christ-like gesture.
Unfortunately, government censorship in China has prohibited public conversation about the Tiananmen events (and continues to do so). Indeed, most Chinese college students have never even seen the image above and don't know the significance of the next few days.