Thousands of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong gathered on Tuesday night, June 4, to mark 30 years since the Chinese Communist Party brutally clamped down on mostly students pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
The annual vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park attracted tens of thousands of participants who filled several football fields and held candles in the sultry night air.
The vigil began with songs in the Cantonese dialect, followed by traditional string music, and a minute of silence for the Tiananmen crackdown victims.
Organizers of the event—the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China—carried a huge wreath made of flowers to a temporary monument. They bowed three times to pay their respects to the June 4 victims.
Chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, Albert Ho stated this is the 30th anniversary. “So people do feel they have to come and demonstrate their commitment to the cause of democracy, said Ho.
Then he added, “I think you know the significance is that Hong Kong people are preserving the memory of history and speaking the truth to power, especially for those who are silenced in the mainland.”
Today, Hong Kong is the only region under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control that can hold significant public commemorations of the 1989 crackdown and memorials for its victims.
A Hong Kong resident and vigil participant, Matthew Wong said, “I believe that we have a role to play in China’s road to democracy.”
Wong continued. “I think we should not give up and forget, remembering this is the first step to protect our society and justice. It’s a process of awakening.”
Currently, Hong Kong has a degree of freedom not seen on the mainland as a legacy of British rule that ended in 1997.
Referring to the Chinese regime’s June 4 1989 brutal crackdown that killed tens of thousands students, another local resident and vigil participant, Wong Chor Sum stated, “That type of oppression is something that I find very hard to tolerate.”
Wong continued, “I feel that no matter how far away you are, they (the CCP) will drag you back… I already have no freedom, I really want to tell the world to help us because the Hong Kong people are suffering.”
The commemorative event highlights the ongoing concern for Chinese human rights in the semi-autonomous territory, as its civil liberties are under threat from the Chinese regime.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press