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Thousands of protesters mourn Chinese labor activist Li Wangyang's death, Hong Kong, June 10, 2012 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Amid Crackdown, China’s Dissidents Fight to Keep the Spirit of Tiananmen Alive

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

When NPR reporter Louisa Lim brought the iconic photograph of “Tank Man”—the young Chinese man who stood before a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, just one day after the massacre at Tiananmen Square—to the campuses of four prestigious universities in Beijing, only 15 of the 100 students she randomly interviewed could identify the picture.

In her book, Lim wrote:

The students I spoke to are the crème de la crème, the best-educated students in China, yet the vast majority of them looked at the photo with the slightest flicker of recognition. ‘Is it in Kosovo?’ one astronomy major asked. A student pursuing a PhD in marketing hazarded a guess, ‘Is it from South Korea?’ ‘I feel that it looks a bit like Tiananmen Square. But it isn’t, is it?’ asked one student doing postgraduate work in education at Beijing Normal University. ...

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