Never Before Seen Tiananmen Square Photos Found in Shoebox

Fascinating family artifacts from the 1989 Tienanmen Square protests in China. I remember hearing about them during the sturm und drang of my own late adolescence. How surreal to contemplate them again with the perspective half a century gives — and to contrast Tienanmen with the Arab spring.

The China Girls

It was a black film canister, rattling around the bottom of an old Naturalizer shoebox labeled “photos.” I opened it, wondering if it was a roll of unused film. Instead, I found a twist of white tissue paper wrapped around tightly rolled black-and-white negatives. I held them up to the light. At first I saw…legs.

Tiananmen legs

Then, people with bicycles.

Tiananmen bicycle people

Wait, that looks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Is that Tiananmen Square? With banners? Tiananmen monument

Next, a white form rising above a crowd, holding…a torch?

Goddess_crowd

Oh man, is this what I think it is?

On Sunday night, I was searching through my parents’ photos for a piece I was writing on Tiananmen Square and my father, when I stumbled across two rolls of negatives that appeared to be from the 1989 student democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. I was stunned. I had no idea where they were from, why my parents had…

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Author: Frances Donovan

I like poetry, long walks on the beach, and net neutrality. Tending the Garden of Words (www.gardenofwords.com) since 1998.

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