Wednesday, 4 June 2014
In 1989, students and protesters packed Tiananmen Square demanding Democracy and were brutally put down by the Chinese military.
The lasting image of the short lived demonstration was the single man stood in front of the column of tanks that had been sent in to the Square to literally crush the rebellion.
The man blocked the path of the tanks then climbed onto the lead tank, pounded on the hatchet, and appeared to speak to the soldiers inside before clambering back down in front of the tank where two men ran into the street and pulled him away.
It is a mystery what became of him and rumours run from him being captured and executed to fleeing to Taiwan or just melting back into the general population and sensibly keeping his head down.
China has undoubtedly moved on in the quarter of a century since the protests but it is still a strict single-party state and its actions over the Diaoyu Island show that it is not adverse to using its military when it's interests are at stake.
Whether China would behave in the manner of the US or if it will necessarily be better or worse we will have to wait and see but as history has shown, whoever has taken a turn as the top dog, none of them have been particularly pretty so we would be foolish to think China would be any different.