Hundreds marched through Hong Kong on Sunday ahead of the 29th anniversary of China’s crackdown on democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Semi-autonomous Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where the anniversary is openly marked with a famous vigil in Victoria Park on June 4 each year. The march is an annual precursor to the main event.
Organized by a group of veteran democracy activists, protesters demanded justice for the victims of the crackdown and also urged the Chinese government to release Liu Xia (劉霞), widow of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), who continues to be under house arrest since her husband’s death in custody last year.
Protesters shouted “Accountability for the massacre! End one-party dictatorship,” and held banners reading: “Mourn June 4, Resist Authoritarianism” as they walked from the business district of Wan Chai to Beijing’s liaison office in the territory.
The disqualification of pro-democracy lawmakers from the legislative council and the banning of some activists from standing for office has heightened concern that Hong Kong’s cherished freedoms are being steadily eroded by Beijing.
Pro-Beijing figures have said that calling for an end to a one-party dictatorship is “illegal” and that anyone who does so could run the risk of being disqualified from running for election.
“This is our freedom, our right, and also our belief. We do not hesitate to continue saying our slogan,” said Albert Ho (何俊仁), chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organized the march.
“We believe that only by ending the one-party dictatorship can we build a democratic China,” he added.
Ho said that about 1,100 people attended the protest.
Residents said that they were marching to ensure that the bloody crackdown was not forgotten.
“If nobody talks about it, the next generation will never know about this history,” said a woman who gave her name as Mrs Ho and attended the protest with her son.
“The Chinese Communist Party will not listen to citizens and people’s voices. Although I was not born at that time, I heard my parents talk about it and I knew that Hong Kong people went on the streets ... to fight for their democracy and rights,” added another protester who gave his name as Kelvin.
However, the turnout figures for the march and vigil have dropped in recent years as many young Hong Kongers are frustrated by the lack of progress on political reform in the territory.
They disagree with the vigil’s main message of democratization in China, saying that the focus should be on Hong Kong, not the mainland.
Student unions will not attend the longstanding vigil in Victoria Park this year and have boycotted it for the past three years.
Hundreds — by some estimates more than a thousand — died after the Chinese Communist Party sent tanks to crush demonstrations in the square in the heart of Beijing on June 4, 1989, where student-led protesters had staged a peaceful seven-week sit-in to demand democratic reforms.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South