On the 5th Of June 1989 a single Chinese man stood up to a line of 18 tanks in Tiananmen Square. The image of him and his righteous act was broadcast all over the world as the image to forever illustrate one insignificant mans power to stand up to a virtually unstoppable force. Despite all efforts, Western Media Sources have been unable to discover his true identity so he has been dubbed ‘The Unknown Rebel’ by Time Magazine and was included in their list of “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century. ”
This man is considered a rebel because he went against ‘the man’ and refused to do as told by the tanks standing in front of him. For the previous two days there had been horrendous violence occurring between student protesters and the Chinese Government with incidents of people being shot in the back by soldiers for their pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen square. His act was intrinsically rebellious because he stood in the way of the tanks and even moved left and right with the tank to further block it’s path in a defiant way.
He was even seen to climb on top of the tank and say to the driver “Why are you here? My city is in chaos because of you. ” He then climbed back down and bystanders pulled him back into the crowd as he receded into anonymity. The Chinese government is a force to be reckoned with and this unknown rebel must have been aware of they were capable of killing as martial law had been declared and thousands just like him had been killed in the preceding days. Only a true rebel would risk his life to defy the government and stand up to a line of 18 tanks.
The Unknown Rebel
His image has been adopted by many people in many countries as a sign that every man can make a difference and do something major that impacts a large, diverse amount of people. It has been said that he was seen in his glorious moment by more people than ever laid eyes on Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and James Joyce combined. This alone is indicative of the significance his one act had compared with the lifetime achievements of some men considered to be relatively more famous. The fact that after his act of rebellion he majestically disappeared into the crowd further adds to his image of the rebel.
No one knows who he was, let alone what happened to him after that day. A year later, when an American reporter asked Chinese leader Jiang Zemin what had happened to the unknown rebel and he replied “I think never killed. ” This mystery that surrounds the unknown rebel is one attribute that contributes to his image as a rebel due to the image that has been created around his anonymity. In conclusion, the unknown rebel of Tiananmen Square is a rebel because he has become a symbol for standing up against the big power at the risk of everything for something you believe in.