Page last updated at 06:27 GMT, Thursday, 3 June 2010 07:27 UK

Chinese paper prints 'Tiananmen' cartoon

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

A man tries to stop Chinese tanks in 1989
It has never been publicly revealed what happened to 'tank man'

A cartoon that appears to refer to the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square has been printed in a Chinese newspaper.

The image, in the Southern Metropolitan Daily, shows a boy drawing a person standing in front of three tanks.

Online commentators have likened the image to the photograph of "tank man", the protester who stopped a column of tanks during the demonstrations.

It appeared in the paper days before the 21st anniversary of the crackdown in and around Tiananmen Square.

It has now been pulled from the Guangzhou-based newspaper's website.

It suggests that while the government stays silent on the issue, there are those in China who want to publicly remember the incident.

Online comments deleted

The cartoon was published with other pictures on Tuesday on a special page to mark International Children's Day.

The boy in the picture has drawn the tanks on a school notice board. The person in front of the tanks looks like a soldier.

No one was available for comment at the newspaper.

But there were many comments about the cartoon on the internet, although some of them were deleted shortly after they appeared.

"Today's newspaper is very interesting. They posted a cartoon picture of the 'tank man'," read one posting.

"I hope in the future people will discover that the newspaper is actually telling the truth," went another.

This is not the first time that a newspaper has published an item relating to the Tiananmen massacre just before an anniversary.

In 2008, the Beijing News published a famous picture taken at the time of the killings showing injured people being transported through the capital's streets.

It appeared in an article about a photographer who had documented China over several decades and was simply entitled "The wounded".

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of students and workers are thought to have died when Chinese troops opened fire on the night of 3/4 June.

The crackdown followed weeks of protests in Tiananmen Square in the centre of Beijing.

The Chinese government said the protests were a counter-revolutionary rebellion.

It has not been publicly revealed what happened to "tank man".

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