Hong Kong vigil to mark Tiananmen massacre

The parents of some of the Chinese students killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre have joined a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong, to mark the 30th anniversary of a “tragedy witnessed by the world”.

Jun 05, 2019, updated Jun 05, 2019
A Hong Kong candlelight vigil for victims of the 1989 military crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Photo: AP/Kin Cheung

A Hong Kong candlelight vigil for victims of the 1989 military crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Photo: AP/Kin Cheung

More than 180,000 people gathered for the peaceful commemoration, organisers said, in city’s CBD on Tuesday night.

Amongst those who addressed the crowd was Zhang Xianling, co-founder of the Tiananmen Mothers group, who lost her 19-year-old son, Wang Nan when government soldiers fired on demonstrators on June 4, thirty years ago.

Appearing with other parents by video from mainland China, Ms Zhang said the Chinese government’s “blatant disregard for human life” was a “bloody fact that can never be covered up”.

“The grief threatened to crush us but it has now transformed into our motivation to fight for justice,” she said.

“History proves that the truth will eventually defeat lies and justice will defeat evil.”

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of pro-democracy protesters died when Chinese government troops opened fire in the square in Beijing on June 4 1989, after days of student-led demonstrations calling for more democratic government.

Commonly known in mainland China as the ‘June Fourth Incident’, the final death toll is still unknown but estimates run as high as two thousand.

The 30th anniversary comes at a tense time for Hong Kong, as the territory’s Legislative Council considers a contentious extradition bill.

The proposed law would allow criminals to be sent to mainland China and has sparked fears it could be used to target critics of Beijing.

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Still, Hong Kong remains the only place in China territory allowed to commemorate the brutal crackdown.

For young people, like 22-year-old Hong Konger Connie Chan, the vigil is a chance to pay tribute to massacre victims and to those who have spent the following years protecting civil rights in the territory.

“I just want to come here to feel the passion of Hong Kong people fighting for their freedom, fighting for the truth for 30 years,” she said.

“I want to witness everything.”


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