Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong on Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, calling for China to open up discussion about what happened in 1989, and for the Communist Party to take responsibility for the massacre.
Participants walked past mourning signs with the names of some of those who died 25 years ago in Beijing.
Some came from mainland China, where details of the pro-democracy protests, and government crackdown, are taboo. Only in autonomous Hong Kong can there be public commemoration.
Twenty-three-year-old Yang, from the southern city of Guangzhou, said despite censorship, many young people in China know what happened. But she said they can only commemorate the protests in small, private ways. “I think the government should allow people to hold different activities to remember some history, to ask for their rights legally,” she stated.
Some high school students from Hong Kong say they are here to learn more about an event they have studied in history class.
“We actually know about the facts of June 4th incident and we are driven by our heart and enthusiasm to ask for justice here and in the motherland,” said Chloe Yip.
Retired engineer Ng Siu Wing travelled from Canada, where he lives, to take part in the vigil. “I think the people still want that, still want democracy, still want the government to know that, still want the China government to, you know, change,” he stated.
In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, authorities in China detained or began tracking a number of activists, including members of the Tiananmen Mothers.
Vigil organizer Mak Hoi-wah remembered the group -- made up of relatives of those who died in 1989.
“This community of mothers seeks justice for their martyred children, truth for their sons and daughters grievously wronged, and remembrance of that tragic history in the heart of the people,” he said.
This year's vigil comes as relations between Hong Kong and the Beijing government are changing.
The former British colony is deciding on electoral changes to establish universal suffrage. But pro-democracy groups say Beijing is pushing a plan that will limit choices at the ballot box.
Some vigil participants say just like the students of 25 years ago, Hong Kong people also need to fight for democracy.
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