One of the original shots of Tank Man in Beijing

Copyright of the image
Reuters / Arthur Tsang


The Tiananmen tank man, pictured here by Reuters photographer Arthur Tsang

Charlie Cole, one of the photographers who filmed the famous Tank Man during protests against Tiananmen Square, has passed away.

The image of a man standing on the way to a column of tanks, a day after hundreds or even thousands of people died, became a defining image of the 1989 demonstrations in favor of democracy.

Cole won the 1990 World Press Photo Award for his photo.

He lived in Bali, Indonesia, where he died last week at the age of 64.

Cole was one of four photographers who captured the scene on June 5, 1989.

He took his picture for Newsweek with the telephoto lens from the balcony of a hotel and framed it so that the man was only in the lower left corner.

Cole then explained how he had expected the man to be killed and felt that it was his responsibility to record what was going on.

But the unidentified protester was finally removed from the scene by two men. What happened to him remains unknown.

A symbol of peaceful resistance

Cole knew that he would be searched later by Chinese security and hid the undeveloped role of the film in the bathroom.

Shortly after taking it, officials walked through the door and searched the hotel room, but they did not discover the movie.

The scene filmed by him and the other three photographers has become an iconic symbol of peaceful resistance around the world.

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Legend of the mediaTiananmen tank tank: the picture that China has forgotten

Thirty years ago, Tiananmen Square in Beijing became the center of large-scale protests calling for reform and democracy.

Protesters had camped for weeks in the square, but on June 3, late at night, the army intervened and the soldiers opened fire.

China has never said that 200 civilians and members of the security forces have died, but no case of death has been made public. According to witnesses and foreign journalists, this figure could reach 3,000.

Tiananmen is still a highly censored subject in modern China and the images of Tank Man are forbidden.