Great Escape

Within hours of the Tiananmen massacre on June 4, 1989, the Beijing government launched the largest manhunt in the history of the People's Republic. Citizens were called on to assist the army and police in rounding up the 21 "masterminds" of the so-called "counter-revolutionary upheaval," and "Most Wanted" posters were splashed on street corners. Authorities boasted that the criminals would find nowhere to hide. At first, the pursuit of the student leaders seemed a surreal exercise in totalitarian theater, a face-saving exercise by the party elders who had ordered troops to crush the democracy movement. But it was soon clear that...

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