Home Global News China’s silence on Tiananmen tribute extends to Hong Kong

China’s silence on Tiananmen tribute extends to Hong Kong


HONG KONG (AP) — China has for years shunned any discussion on the mainland of its bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which has been nearly erased from the collective consciousness. Now it may be Hong Kong’s turn, as China’s ruling Communist Party pulls the city straight into its orbit.

The semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and nearby Macao were for years the last places on Chinese soil to be allowed to publicly mark the events of June 4, 1989, when the People’s Liberation Army launched a crackdown on student-led protesters. In action, shots were fired, in which hundreds of people were killed. If not thousands, dead.

before last year, Thousands gather annually Lighting candles and singing songs to remember the victims in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. But officials, citing the coronavirus pandemic, are banning that vigil for the second year in a row. and A museum dedicated to the event suddenly closed Wednesday, just two days before Friday’s anniversary, officials investigated it for lacking the licenses required to hold a public exhibition.

Hong Kong’s Security Minister warned residents last week Against participation in unauthorized gatherings.

In mainland China, the younger generation grew up with little knowledge or debate about this action, but efforts to suppress monuments in Hong Kong following massive anti-government protests screwed up Beijing’s increasingly tight control over Hong Kong. mark another turning point. 2019. 2019. Those demonstrations developed into months of sometimes violent clashes between small groups of protesters and police. And they have taken widespread crackdown on dissent in the former British colony, long an oasis of capitalism and democracy and promised it would largely maintain its independence for 50 years when it was returned to China in 1997 was.

Since the protests, China has enacted a comprehensive national security law aimed at tightening punishments for actions the protesters have engaged in, and officials have banned nearly all outspoken and prominent pro-democracy figures in the city. demanded to be arrested. Most are either behind bars or have fled the city.

Despite the restrictions this year, Hong Kongers have been called to remember the 1989 action in private, with vigilante organizers calling on residents to light a candle at 8 p.m. Friday, no matter where they are.

Online calls circulated on social media also urged residents to wear black on Friday. Local newspaper Ming Pao published an article last week saying residents write numbers six and four on their light switches – for the date June 4 – so each flip of the switch is also an act of remembrance.

For decades, Chan Qin Wing has been participating in regular vigils in Hong Kong.

“I was lucky to be born in Hong Kong. If I had been born on the mainland, I would have been one of the students in Tiananmen Square that day,” said Chan, whose parents moved from the mainland in the 1960s. had fled to Hong Kong.

“When it happened on June 4, 1989, Hong Kong witnessed an indelible historical event of the murder of students by a corrupt regime,” Chan said.

This year, Chan plans to remember the incident privately, wearing black and changing his profile picture on social media to an image of a burning candle in the dark.

“I’ve resolved to never forget June 4th, and try to share my memories of it to make sure it’s never forgotten,” he said.

In mainland China, the Tiananmen Mothers, a group representing relatives of the victims, published an appeal on the Human Rights in China website, releasing official records about the party’s action on their long-standing demands. and requested for compensation to the injured. And those responsible will have to account.

“We look forward to the day when the CPC and the Chinese government can honestly and courageously set the record and take their due responsibility for the 1989 anti-human genocide in accordance with the law and facts,” the statement said.

However, the government intends to run the clock on such appeals.

While Tiananmen Mothers said that 62 of its members had died since the group’s founding in the late 1990s, many young Chinese, said it, “have grown up in a false sense of opulence and enforced glorification of the government ( and) have no idea what happened on June 4, 1989 in the nation’s capital, refused to believe.

In Hong Kong, the recent arrests and convictions of key activists have had a chilling effect on those who had participated in the vigil in the past, said Chow Hang Tung, vice-president of the Hong Kong Coalition in Support of China’s Patriotic Democratic Movements, which opened on the 4 June Museum. operates.

“Obviously there will be fear and people may not believe that they can come and express their memory for the Tiananmen genocide victims and be spotless,” she said.

Chou said what drives him forward is the dream that both China and Hong Kong could one day have democracy. However, the tide appears to be going in the other direction.

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“It’s something worth fighting for,” she said. “If one day we can’t talk about Tiananmen, it will mean that Hong Kong is completely assimilated into Chinese society.”


Associated Press video journalist Alice Fung contributed.


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