back to top

A Woman Stumbled Across Never-Before-Seen Photos Of The Tiananmen Square Protests In A Shoebox

The negatives sat undeveloped for 25 years.

Posted on

Shelley told BuzzFeed: "I found the photos Sunday night, when I was in my basement looking through boxes of photos that I had inherited from my parents."

Shelley Zhang / Via

Shelley Zhang's uncle in Tiananmen Square, somewhere between May 30 and June 3, 1989.

"I was writing an article for The Toast on my father and Tiananmen Square, so I was trying to find childhood photos."

Shelley Zhang / Via

Shelley was born in Lanzhou, China, in 1983 and came to the United States in 1986 to join her graduate student parents in Ohio. The family stayed in America because of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“[I looked] in a shoebox I found a black film canister. When I held the negatives up to the light and realized what I was seeing, I had this moment of complete disbelief.”

"I wasn't 100% sure what I had until I finally got them back from the photo lab Tuesday night. I was so happy to have found a piece of my history that had been lost for so long."

"I'm deeply interested in China and human rights issues in China, so they were incredible to me, but I think Tiananmen is significant to more people than I realized, partly because of images like Tank Man."

Shelley Zhang / Via

"I have a younger sister who lives with me now, she was born in the U.S. in 1990. Because of China's one-child policy, she probably wouldn't exist if we hadn't stayed here."

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!