Banned Tiananmen "Tank Man" Image Shocks Beijing Audience During Cirque Du Soleil Performance

The image has now been removed from the montage played during the Cirque du Soleil’s performance on Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us.”

1. A Beijing audience of about 15,000 gasped when the extremely sensitive iconic image of the Tiananmen Square “tank man” protester flashed on giant screens during Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour performance.

Jeff Widener / AP / Via
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Deirdre Wang Morris


Wow. Cirque de Soleil shocks audience of 15K in showing iconic Tiananmen tank man image (via @SCMP_News)

/ Via
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The image — along with any mention of the 1989 protests in Beijing and subsequent crackdown that resulted in the deaths of hundreds — is completely banned in China. It is unclear how the image made it past the Chinese Ministry of Culture. It has since been removed from the show.

Cirque Du Soleil’s publicist, Laura Silverman, said in a press statement:

Cirque du Soleil has abided by all the rules that were required by the Chinese Ministry of Culture including submitting the full show for approval. The show that is being presented here in China is the same show that has been touring the world for almost 2 years.

The image is no longer in the show.

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4. A Weibo post on the incident was also removed.

Deirdre Wang Morris


Longer than I thought it’d last. Weibo Cirque-Tiananmen blunder post deemed “inappropriate” and taken down.

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at

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