HONG KONG: Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong gathered on Tuesday night to mark 30 years since China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, underscoring continuing concern for Chinese human rights in the semi-autonomous territory, even as its own civil liberties are under threat.
Hong Kong is the only region under Beijing’s jurisdiction that holds significant public commemorations of the 1989 crackdown and memorials for its victims. Hong Kong has a degree of freedom not seen on the mainland as a legacy of British rule that ended in 1997.
The annual vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park near the bustling Causeway Bay shopping district appeared to draw tens of thousands of participants who filled several football fields and held candles in the sultry night air. Following an introduction of songs in the city’s Cantonese dialect and traditional string music, a minute of silence was held for the Tiananmen crackdown victims.
“By being here, I’m standing for truth and justice, even though I’ve no hope the Chinese central government will ever do justice to the protesters,” said participant Stanley Lui, 42.
Beijing transplant Jay Jiang, 16, said unlike many on the mainland, she knew about the crackdown even as a young child. The 10th grader was taking part in the Hong Kong vigil for the first time.
“The bottom line is the government should not deceive the people about what happened,” said Jiang, beads of sweat dotting her cheeks. Estimates of the number of vigil participants varied widely, with police putting the figure at 37,000 and organisers at 180,000.
Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2019