Thousands Rally in Hong Kong to Mark Tiananmen Anniversary

Discussion in 'China' started by Rushil51, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Rushil51

    Rushil51 Regular Member

    Jul 13, 2014
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    Castelia City

    HONG KONG — Tens of thousands of people gathered in a Hong Kong park on Saturday evening to do what people across the border in mainland China could not: commemorate the anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

    As has become a tradition, organizers in Hong Kong transformed Victoria Park into a facsimile of Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart of the Chinese nation. A giant photo on a tarpaulin showed the scene at the Gate of Heavenly Peace — Tiananmen — during the 1989 protests, with the Goddess of Democracy, a white plaster and Styrofoam statue, facing off against Chairman Mao Zedong’s portrait. A wreath next to a replica of an obelisk in Tiananmen Square honors the mothers of people killed during the crackdown.

    In Beijing, the government is trying to erase any acknowledgment of the events of 27 years ago. Ding Zilin, 79, the most prominent of the Tiananmen mothers, was under close guard by the police in the days before June 4. On Saturday, the police tightened security around Tiananmen Square, The Associated Press reported.

    The suppression of the student-led movement had a profound affect on Hong Kong, which in 1989 was just eight years away from reverting to Chinese sovereignty after more than a century of British rule.

    “I’m Chinese,” said H. C. Tsui, 76, a retired middle school headmaster and native Hong Konger who has attended most vigils in the past quarter-century. He was sitting with many other elderly people on bleachers on the perimeter of the athletic fields, where organizers estimated 125,000 people gathered this year. (The police put the figure at 21,800.)

    “I have to remember those who have been persecuted and assaulted during the 6-4 movement,” Mr. Tsui said, using a term to describe the date of the protests. “That is my job, my responsibility. I must be here.”

    Many young people in this city of more than seven million do not agree with Mr. Tsui’s view of himself. Dismayed by the continued autocratic rule of the Communist Party in Beijing, and the threat it poses to Hong Kong’s liberties, they increasingly identify themselves with their city, not China.

    As the vigil got underway after nightfall, about 20 masked people waving banners calling for Hong Kong’s independence were refused entry into the venue by organizers. Some, while pushing for self-determination for Hong Kong, also see the vigil as important.

    For Joshua Wong, 19, the student leader who was the public face of the massive 2014 sit-in protests, the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, which happened eight years before he was born, marked the beginning of Hong Kong’s own democracy movement.

    Mr. Wong’s new political party is pushing for a referendum on Hong Kong’s future, and on Saturday night, his party and other pro-democracy political parties in Hong Kong were focused on raising money from the throngs of like-minded people flooding into the park.

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