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Hong Kong to Hold Vigil for Tiananmen Pro-Democracy Victims

People in Hong Kong are preparing to hold a candlelight vigil Monday to remember the victims of China's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Beijing's Tiananmen Square 18 years ago.

Thousands of people usually join the annual gathering, but organizers expect a bigger turnout this year because of the controversy over comments by a pro-Beijing lawmaker (Ma Lik) who said last month that the crackdown was not a massacre.

Chinese troops and tanks killed hundreds and possibly thousands of activists in 1989, putting a brutal end to weeks of peaceful pro-democracy, anti-corruption protests in Tiananmen Square.

Beijing has called the demonstrations a "counter-revolutionary" riot. Memorials are not permitted on the mainland.

However, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy says one victim's mother Ding Zilin of the Tiananmen Mothers group was allowed Monday to place flowers and mourn her son's death in the place he was shot.

At the time of the killings, Hong Kong was still a British colony, and residents were horrified by the mainland's action. Hong Kong has since returned to China's control, but it enjoys greater autonomy and civil liberties than the mainland.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.