33 years ago, Tiananmen square, 15 minutes of the apocalypse on photos

Threety-three year ago, students were killed by tanks in the early hours of the day.

33 years ago, Tiananmen square, 15 minutes of the apocalypse on photos

Threety-three year ago, students were killed by tanks in the early hours of the day. They died just a stone's throwing from Tiananmen Square on the Avenue of Heavenly Peace. They were the last ones to leave the square and fled the advancing soldiers. They were part of a small group of young people who, although exhausted, did not feel dejected. They pushed their bikes and carried their tired banners.

They had just left Tiananmen square by a side street, and were about to join the Avenue of Heavenly Peace (Chang'an) when three tanks appeared from the smoke and charged at them. Anyone who couldn't jump over the metal barriers that bordered the roadway was forced to crawl under the tracks. The tanks then continued their journey, leaving behind an apocalypse scene near the sidewalk's edge.

One of the students was busy taking photos of the historic sequence of retreat. He managed to escape the horror. He continued taking pictures despite the horror. Later, he secretly developed the film and annotated each print by hand.

He was there a few weeks later. Through mutual relations, he had discovered that I was returning home to France. He asked me if he would allow me to take his prints. These images were not available in any other way than he could find. Since June 4, all border crossing posts have been subject to a strict inspection.

This small packet of photos was brought back to France in August 1989. They were broadcast to the media. Some of them were reproduced in the September 1989 special issue of Documents du "Nouvel Observateur".

This is a series of nine photos that almost minute-by-minute tell the story of this terrible episode.

Some images can be quite shocking.

6:10 a.m.

Students are evacuating Tiananmen Square on foot and by bicycle.


The last group is found on Chang'an Avenue at the Liubukou crossroads 50 meters from Zhongnanhai. This is the government and Party headquarters.


Three tanks from the square are also coming at the same time and rushing in their direction.


Students attempt to climb metal barriers to avoid tanks under a cloud of tear gas.


After the death of the tanks, the intersection at Liubukou on Chang'an Avenue was renamed.


Passers-by help a man who is still clinging to the barrier while armored vehicles circulate along Chang'an Avenue. Eleven people were killed on the road.


Two men attempt to place tourniquets on the legs of one student trapped at the crossroads in Liubukou.

Later, it was discovered that Fang Zheng was a student at Sports University who assisted a young girl to jump the barrier, but he didn't have the time to climb the fence. shelter.

Fang Zheng was awarded the title of China Disabled Athletics Champions a few years later. He was denied the right to compete in international athletics competitions. He is now exiled to California.

(article first published online on June 4, 2014).

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