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Hong Kong Commemorates Tiananmen Square Crackdown

  • VOA News

A statue of the Goddess of Democracy is displayed during a pro-democracy protest near the China Liaison Offices in Hong Kong Sunday, May 31, 2015.

A statue of the Goddess of Democracy is displayed during a pro-democracy protest near the China Liaison Offices in Hong Kong Sunday, May 31, 2015.

Hong Kong holds its annual candlelight vigil Thursday to commemorate the anniversary of China's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

Tens of thousands are set to pack Hong Kong's Victoria Park for the rally, which this year takes place just days ahead of a key vote to determine the territory's political future.

The Chinese government-approved electoral plan being voted on by Hong Kong's legislature on June 17 has been dismissed by pro-democracy activists as a farce.

The plan would, for the first time, allow voters to elect the territory's chief executive, but only candidates approved by a Beijing-dominated committee will be allowed to run.

Pro-democracy activists last year held seven weeks of huge protests aimed at convincing Beijing and Hong Kong to scrap the plan and follow through on their promise for universal suffrage.

The protests were eventually disbursed without a single major concession by authorities.

There was no serious violence, unlike in June, 1989, when China sent in tanks and troops to disband weeks of protests in Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll range from a few hundred to a few thousand.

Security was tight Thursday in the central Beijing square. Reuters reported policed carried away a middle-aged woman holding a plastic rose. "Why won't you let me go? Because you are thugs," the woman yelled, according to Reuters, before she was dragged away.

Beijing authorities do not allow public discussion of the Tiananmen Square incident. The country's Internet censors also work overtime to scrub social media of any references to the brutal crackdown.

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