News / Asia

Hong Kong Remembers Tiananmen Protests

Hong Kong Marks Tiananmen Anniversaryi
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Rebecca Valli
June 01, 2014 6:08 PM
Thousands of Hong Kong residents gathered a few days early to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests on June 4, 1989, crushed with deadly force by Chinese troops. Rebecca Valli reports from Hong Kong for VOA.

Hong Kong Marks Tiananmen Anniversary

The Tiananmen protests were a watershed moment for Hong Kong, which in 1989 was just eight years away from returning to China after 150 years as a British colony.

At the time, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents marched in support of the protests in the mainland and wept when they were crushed.

To this day, Hong Kong is the only place in China where the events of 1989 are publicly remembered.
 
In 1989, poet Meng Lang was working as an editor at Shenzhen University, located in southern China, just 30 kilometers north of Hong Kong.
 
In the 1980s it was one of a handful of cities allowed to experiment with private enterprises, which Meng said gave it a unique perspective on the 1989 students' movement.
 
“Shenzhen was the only place in China were we could freely watch TV news from Hong Kong. Every household could watch Hong Kong news. Every building had an antenna called ‘fishbone antenna,’ so we knew all that happened to the students' movement, from the death of Hu Yaobang to the repression on June 4th,” Meng said.
 
Hong Kong support

Watching those news broadcasts, Meng said, Hong Kong's support was unmistakable.
 
“There were many demonstrations, they also collected a lot of money to send to the students in Beijing's Tiananmen square. In 1989 Hong Kong was facing the reality of returning to China eight years after, so people in Hong Kong had a question about that,” Meng recalled.
 
The question, Meng said, was whether the freedoms the city-state had enjoyed as a British colony could be sustained under Chinese rule.
 
25 years later, Hong Kong has transitioned to be a part of China, but still retains an independent judicial system and a free press.
 
Pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk Yan joined thousands marching in the city Sunday to commemorate June 4.
 
“The question about the future of Hong Kong is still hanging on us, and so it is very important for people in Hong Kong to continue our defiance of any narrowing of our freedom and suppression of other freedoms,” Lee said.
 
The 1989 remembrance comes as Hong Kong debates the details of universal suffrage planned for 2017, when Hong Kong residents will nominate and elect leaders, and 2020, the deadline to form a legislature.
 
Pro-democracy activists say Beijing is trying to amend the electoral law to bar dissenting voices from participating as candidates.
 
Annual march

Hong Kong resident Joanne Wu also marched on Sunday, and said that demonstrators in Beijing in 1989 wished for political reforms - much like people in Hong Kong now.
 
“Twenty-five years ago the students they also want democracy in mainland China. After 25 years we also want the dream of democracy to be implemented in Hong Kong and mainland China as well,” said Wu.
 
Deng, 60, was also at the rally.
 
“I will use my last strengths to remember the Chinese democratic movement,” Deng said.
 
In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, authorities in Beijing have detained activists, scholars and intellectuals because of their efforts to privately commemorate those who died in 1989.
 
Meng has recently published two books, one of poems and one of contemporary art dedicated to the events of spring 1989.
 
"Books on taboo topics like June 4th that cannot be discussed in the mainland are published in Hong Kong, and abroad where we have the freedom to do so. We have to break these taboos and spread the voice back to China, to inform and let people discuss June 4th, discuss freely all that is in society," said Meng.
 
Such discussion should not come at the price of harassment and detainment, Meng added.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NY
June 03, 2014 12:17 PM
Kudos to the people of Hong Kong for keeping alive the democracy movement & remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre where hundreds of peaceful protestors where shot & killed by the PLA. The CCP are very afraid of their own people, so they censor any public discussion or news about 6/4/89 or the current poor state of human rights in China. Just like the Soviet regime who censored the media and arrested dissidents, the CCP does the same thing in China. But the Soviet Union is gone now and the CCP are heading in the same direction.

In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
June 03, 2014 6:37 PM
OMG China is gonna collapse!
What? China should have collapsed 10 years ago! Lol
Just keep dreaming and repeat it every year, could you?


by: jonathan huang from: canada
June 02, 2014 9:48 AM
without cracking down the 64 movement, china would be like Ukraine and Egypt, the whole country would slide into chaos and civil was. Thanks to the communist party, we had 30 years stable development and become the second largest economy. Hope the communist can keep in the great job and keep china stable for another 30 years, hopefully we will be the number one superpower by then!

In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
June 03, 2014 6:33 PM
@womgchuk, I suggest you go to China and ask ppl if they care about this incident. No, I will tell you, ppl don't care. China is growing, everyone is busy making money, only losers waste time on politics.
They care more about the price of condos, price of pork. They are busy planning which country to visit next time. Which foreign university they are going to send their kids to.
Revolution. Lol only in your dream.

In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NY
June 03, 2014 12:13 PM
This is a typical excuse by authoritarian regimes that if they don't repress dissent, then there will be chaos. But repression only brings more dissent and more chaos and disorder. The govt uses violence to repress the people and the people have no venue to voice their views.

When the KMT ruled China, there was no democracy and widespread corruption & discontent. The CCP engaged in an armed revolution to overthrow the KMT, the then-legitimate govt of China. The CCP came to power through violence but democracy dissidents want peaceful reform. Yet they must face violence from the CCP who don't want to relinquish their monopoly of power (and all the financial benefits that come with it).

The 50 Cent Party are paid by the CCP to promote the Party line on the Internet. The CCP spends an enormous amount of money on domestic & foreign propaganda. Because if the Chinese people learn the truth about the Tiananmen Massacre, Mao and the CCP, they are afraid of another revolution to overthrow the current corrupt & oppressive regime.


by: Nicholas Clifford from: Middlebury, VT USA
June 01, 2014 7:57 PM
Hundreds of thousands? I doubt it (the South China Morning Post says "thousands"). The annual commemoration of June 4th in Victoria Park has drawn as many as 50,000 in the past, and this year might be even larger since it's the 25th anniversary. That's already a substantial number, and there's no need to exaggerate it. It's a very impressive gathering (I was fortunate enough to be present for one such a few years ago).


by: Wu Xi-Bao from: beijing
June 01, 2014 5:58 PM
The ruling communist party cannot win the battle over truth and free expression, I will not let them win

In Response

by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
June 02, 2014 8:34 AM
Really surprised at seeing a comment for democracy from Beijing.

In Response

by: Lucas from: NSW, Australia
June 02, 2014 7:45 AM
It is remarkable of your braveness, anyway, have you ever asked yourself which party else is reliable? Do you wish China mainland become another 'Taiwan'? Shameless fighting between during each party during meeting is absolutely a big funny joke. Politicians in Taiwan are selfish as they only chase political interest, while, the the public interests are ignored. The Dog-bite-Dog show, the best representation of Taiwan's politics, should be abandoned.

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