Asia Pacific / Politics

Hong Kong protesters commemorate Tiananmen Square massacre

Kyodo

Up to 3,000 people marched in Hong Kong on Sunday to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre 26 years ago, the organizer said.

“Redress June 4! End one-party rule! Democracy for China!” the participants chanted as they strolled through the central business district toward the Central Government Liaison Office, China’s representative office here.

“We come to the central liaison office today to express our perseverance for redress of June 4 and the end to China’s one-party rule,” said Lee Cheuk-yan of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements, the organizer of the annual march and candlelight vigil for the victims of the June 4, 1989, massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Alliance chairman Albert Ho said 3,000 people took part in the march, the same number as last year. Police put the turnout at 920.

“We’ve persisted for 26 years,” Ho said. “We have become nothing but more persevered, more dedicated to fight for democracy. China is in its dark age, the people are silenced and Hong Kong must speak up for justice with what little freedom we still retain.”

Betty Kwong, 58, who works in printing, said she has marched every year.

“Twenty-six years on, my heart still aches thinking of (the massacre). It is important to join the memorials because the young people have sacrificed themselves for China’s freedom and democracy,” she said.

The mass killing of student pro-democracy protesters from the night of June 3, 1989, left hundreds, if not thousands, dead in a bloody military crackdown in Beijing, during which troops opened fire at unarmed protesters while charging at them with tanks.

Beijing repeatedly insists that the “June 4 incident” has “come to a conclusion.”

“The nation is not equivalent to the regime, no matter how much the government wants us to think so,” a social worker surnamed Wong, in his 50s, said. “The June 4 massacre will be redressed, only that it might take a long time.”

A candlelight vigil will be held on Thursday in Victoria Park. The annual event drew a record-breaking 180,000 participants last year, the Alliance claimed.

But the turnout could shrink this year as student unions of half of the territory’s eight universities have said they will not join the vigil as they do not care to build democracy in China as much as in Hong Kong.