torsdag 4. juni 2020

Hong Kong marks Tiananmen massacre for what many fear will be the last time

When protests broke out in Beijing and other cities across China in early 1989, many in Hong Kong were exhilarated. "It was a time of hope," said Lee Cheuk-yan, a veteran activist and former Hong Kong lawmaker. At that time, the city was eight years out from being handed over from British to Chinese control, and there was a sense that the young protesters across the border could be changing China for the better. 

"For many Hong Kongers, we felt that 1997 was really hanging over our heads. But young people in China were demanding democracy, and we thought if they make it, it means Hong Kong will not have to live under an authoritarian regime." 

That hope became despair, however, as the People's Liberation Army crushed the protests on June 4. No official death toll has ever been released, but rights groups estimate hundreds, if not thousands were killed. The Tiananmen protests and the crackdown have been wiped from the history books in China, censored and controlled, organizers exiled or arrested, and the relatives of those who died kept under tight surveillance.