Tiananmen’s legendary Tank Man has disappeared from Bing results

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“The Tank Man”, the famous photo of the unknown protester standing in front of a mile of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, mysteriously disappeared yesterday from the Bing search engine. on the eve of the anniversary of the bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing.

“This is a human error and we are working hard to resolve it,” said a spokesman for Microsoft, which operates Bing, hours after the US press release.

In the image search results on Google Images, the main competitor to the internet service, the image search for “Tank man” brought in hundreds of impressions of the photo of American photographer Charlie Cole.

The famous photo shows one An unknown protester in a white shirt symbolically tried to block the passage of an array of at least 17 tanks on June 5, 1989, in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

On the night of June 3 to 4, 1989, the Chinese army had carried out a bloody crackdown on students who had been protesting for seven weeks in the huge Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, resulting in hundreds or even more than a thousand deaths.

Tank Man’s photo won the World Press Photo of the Year award in 1990, but remains largely unknown in China due to censorship.

The country has an extensive internet monitoring system that allows authorities to remove any content it deems sensitive, such as political criticism or pornography. And in the name of stability, the country is demanding that the digital giants have their own censors to carry out this task.

Failing to comply with these rules, access to the vast majority of foreign search engines and social media (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has been blocked in China and internet users can only access them through software virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent these restrictions.

However, the disappearance of the historical photo from Bing search results outside of China seemed incomprehensible.

In Hong Kong, where a vigil was traditionally held in honor of the “Beijing Spring”, the ceremony was banned for the second year in a row.

For decades, Hong Kong and Macao were the only sites in China where ceremonies were held in memory of the victims of the bloody crackdown on the 1989 social and student movement in Beijing.

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