Thousands of people will gather in a Hong Kong park today to light candles and sing solemn songs as they remember the bloody crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing 17 years ago.
It's an annual tradition, the only such public vigil allowed in China marking the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, killings. But in recent months, there's been a new twist in how the pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong deal with Tiananmen.
A new pro-democracy political group, the Civic Party, has been formed by several widely respected lawmakers who have decided not to mention Tiananmen in their party's mission statement.
In stark contrast, the bigger Democratic Party's platform condemns the "atrocity" and demands punishment for the officials who ordered the military crackdown.
Some have accused the Civic Party members of sacrificing their principles for the sake of better relations with communist rulers in Beijing. But the party's leaders argue they're just being practical and their revulsion and outrage about Tiananmen haven't changed.
"You don't have strong feelings about June 4 today, then lose those strong feelings when you join a political party," said Audrey Eu (
Hong Kongers can't directly elect their leader, who's chosen by an 800-member committee loyal to Beijing. And they can only elect half of the 60-seat legislature. The other half is picked by groups representing professional sectors.
Like other pro-democracy parties, the Civic Party's manifesto calls for full democracy. But it's silent about Tiananmen.
Political scientist James Sung (宋立功) at the City University of Hong Kong said the Civic Party isn't bringing up Tiananmen because it wants to avoid the problems the more-established Democratic Party is having with Beijing. Chinese leaders have blacklisted many of the Democratic Party's leaders partly because of their outspoken, long-standing positions on the crackdown.
"They [Civic Party] want to have a better relationship, so they think that if they can leave out this hot issue, they can have a good relationship with Beijing," he said.
Sung said the party hopes to get more support from business.
"Many of the business sector people don't think political parties should insist that the June 4 incident be reviewed, and the Civic Party wants to please the business sector," he said.
But Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong (湯家驊) said his group wasn't trying to curry favor with Beijing and big business. He said Tiananmen was left out of the manifesto because it was beyond the scope of the party's interests.
"We take the view that the Tiananmen incident is a matter that transcends the local boundary. It's a national matter," Tong said. "The Civic Party is a local party and concentrates on local matters."
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday