Winner of the Historical Book Award of Les Rencontres d'Arles 2024

This 2024 edition of Kan Tai Wong's "'89 Tiananmen" series features 102 photographs taken by Wong to cover the 1989 student protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (plus six photographs taken between 1998 and 1999). In 1989, Wong was originally in Beijing to cover a sports competition. Noticing the protests, Wong began covering what became the largest pro-democracy movement in Chinese history. Wong then left Beijing, but returned after learning of the students' hunger strike. He remained with the students until the Tiananmen massacre.
Kan Tai Wong's photographs of the student protest still resonate today, not only because of the historical weight of the events, but also because Wong's perspective (a local photographer who lived with the students for many weeks, rather than an international journalist reporting from the outside) allowed him to capture the students, their hopes, their resilience, and their determination from an intimate distance.

The book concludes with several texts by Kan Tai Wong that have appeared in previous editions of "'89 Tiananmen".

“I reviewed the set of black-and-white negatives taken during the 1989 student democracy movement in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square through the white light of the light box, searching for the youthful spirit that was left behind on Chang’an Street.
In the presence of these remnants of youth still waiting to be picked up, I cannot help but wonder how they are doing today.

After all, it was the most beautiful spark of humanity that had ever appeared in the land of China.”
― from Kan Tai Wong’s afterword to the book “Mahjong” (2010)

This book may not be shipped to China, Hong Kong or Macau.

-Book Size
293 × 225 mm
232 pages, 108 images
-Publication Year
English, Japanese

Artist Profile

Wong Kan Tai

Kan Tai Wong was born on Lantau, Hong Kong in 1957. He joined the Hong Kong Press in the late 1970s and started a long career as a photojournalist. He studied photography in the Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics. His photographic collections published include '89 Tiananmen, Hong Kong Walled City 2002–2007, Vajrayana, The Queen's, Fukushima, Xinjiang 1980, Bardo Hong Kong 2019, and Diana Hong Kong 2014.