Using Art to Resist: Cartoonist Becomes The Tank Man

By @badiucao, June 5, 2016




I choose art to resist — to fight terror and to remember. I once drew the Tank Man, and I also have Tank Man tattoo. This year I decided to use performance art to bring the Tank Man back, in the hope that, tomorrow, there’ll be even more Tank Men.

All I know of the Tank Man is his plain white shirt, his black trousers, his leather shoes, and the plastic bag and briefcase he carried. The only thing he left the world was that view of him from behind.


I don’t know the real identity of the Tank Man. There’s a rumour that his name is Wang Weilin, but no one really knows. Who he was before becoming the Tank Man is a mystery; what’s become of him after he was the Tank Man is equally a riddle. I don’t know whether he lived or died. In my heart, I hope he successfully escaped, and that he’s somewhere now, living in quiet and safety.

For me (probably for many of you too), his clothing became him. On June 4, 2016, I “became” the Tank Man for one day in Adelaide, South Australia. I admit that I was somewhat nervous, because my photographer Alycia Bennett  and I were alone. We didn’t know what would happen. But we set up and we started. Some people gave me the middle finger; security guards asked me to move on. But many Chinese students stopped to take photos. And there were people who greeted me with encouragement.


Next year I hope I will not be alone, and there will be more “Tank Men” in Australia and elsewhere. I’d like to see this form of June 4th remembrance spread: it’s simple, calm, and powerful.  


Follow @badiucao on Twitter.


The Historian of the Tiananmen Movement and the June Fourth Massacre –  An Interview With Wu Renhua (Part One of Two), June 3, 2016.

The Historian of the Tiananmen Movement and the June Fourth Massacre – An Interview With Wu Renhua (Part Two of Two), June 4, 2016.

A Young Political Prisoner in the Grand Picture of US-China Diplomacy in the Wake of June 4th Massacre, May 11, 2016




One response to “Using Art to Resist: Cartoonist Becomes The Tank Man”

  1. Please add share to your articles, so it can easily go on socialmedia.

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