An estimated 300 people are expected to turn out for a vigil held by Taiwanese university students in Taipei tonight to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, according to the organizers.
The vigil, jointly organized by students from National Taiwan University (NTU) , National Chengchi University, Soochow University and National Tsing Hua University, will be held at Liberty Square this evening from 7pm to 9:30pm.
The vigil will open with the screening of a 10-minute documentary, followed by a short speech by Chinese pro-democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹) and a performance by experimental Hakka hip-hop outfit Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤).
The Taiwanese participants will then read a statement explaining why local students should care about the massacre and the gathering is set to conclude with a prayer ceremony for the victims of the crackdown.
Seaman Wong, a Hong Konger who studies at NTU and is one of the event’s main organizers, said the goal of the vigil is to support the democracy movement in China and to urge Taiwanese to cherish their hard-won democracy and freedom.
Taiwanese were previously reluctant to talk about supporting democracy for the Chinese people, Wong said, but he believes a growing number have come to realize that “Taiwan cannot avoid talking about the topic because of the closer relationship with China in recent years.”
Last year, NTU hosted a similar vigil, but with a much smaller turnout than the 300 students expected to take part at this year’s event.
Discussion of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square Massacre remains taboo in China.
The Chinese government put the official number of deaths at 23, but the media and other sources have estimated that between 800 and 3,000 people lost their lives after troops and tanks fired on the hundreds of thousands of protesters.
Many student leaders of the protest, such as Wang and Wuer Kaixi, were exiled and are still banned from returning to China.