Thursday, June 4, 2009

Where are the 21 Most Wanted Students from Tiananmen Now?

Skipping right back into things today. Had been wondering whether there was a list compiling the 21 "Most Wanted" list after Tiananmen and where they are now, and it turns out there is quite a well done, comprehensive one done by the Human Rights in China group, compiled by one Stacy Mosher. The report - "Tiananmen's Most Wanted - Where are They Now?" - is at times heartening but strangely depressing to read. No 1, Wang Dan (pictured at the protests in 89 below), wrote a piece today that ran in the LA Times and HuffPo, and just finished up a PhD here in Cambridge last year. Most seem to have scattered, with some running "internet companies," at least one in a hedge fund, and two untraceable. Many of them, like Wang, have continued onto a life of activism abroad, and done quite well, particularly considering what they may have faced. Yet, reading it, I got the feeling that I suppose one might have when you go to a high school or college reunion, and nothing seems to fall in place, and you meet those bright young shooting stars that have hit the end of their burning light and fizzle out into mediocrity, and you suddenly see in a flash (cheaper yet, montage) all those wide-eyed days you wasted. 

As another note, the NY Times Lens blog surfaced a new picture of Tank Man.  The video (below), is mindblowing. I toyed with an entry tracing some of the various ways that Tank Man has gone viral, but the only entertaining and juicy bit I came across was a "Tank Man Tango" (described as "a memorial of dancing bodies") that went on this year in Australia to commemorate events. 

As child of the diaspora here, I primarily remember the set of events as a series of panicked faxes. The onset of the fax machine had been crucial in helping organize the protests, and getting a record of what had happened out of the country and out of sight of censors. (By one account, guards had been posted by all publicly available fax machines the morning of June 5.) I've yet to see [though I certainly haven't dug deeply] a good account that captures this dynamic though - there is not so much action, of course, in the clicking, whirring noises of a fax transmission. But to that nerve-wracking noise, many abroad received their handwritten notices sometime twenty years ago, far before the news stories broke, and anti-climactically felt the tide turn. 

Shepard Fairey's rendition of a picture by Ed Nachtrieb above. 

1 comment:

  1. Here are the instructions for how to make the Tiananmen memorial called the Tank Man Tango:
    (also online in Cantonese, German and Mandarin)

    In Sydney the memorial included 70 people dancing for 90 minutes:

    footage of people making this Tiananmen Memorial on 4 June in Brussels:

    Some people making the dancing vigil in Bristol: Read More

    In Weimar:

    Streaming from Auckland, Hobart, Brisbane, Singapore, Belgrade, Dunkerque, Brussels, and Richmond, Virginia:

    More coming, from many more cities.