søndag 30. mai 2021

Hong Kong: June 4 vigil is a symbol that must be allowed to return

A question often asked before Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997 was whether the candlelit vigil to commemorate victims of the Tiananmen crackdown would be allowed to continue. Now, 24 years later, the issue is being raised again. The peaceful annual gathering on June 4 usually draws tens of thousands of people to Victoria Park, where they create a sea of flickering candles. It is an impressive sight and a moving memorial to the hundreds, maybe more, killed when China’s military crushed student protests in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

Since 1990, the vigil has provided the strongest evidence that Hong Kong’s freedoms remain intact. It took place every year until the outbreak of Covid-19. But this year’s event, planned for Friday, has been banned for the second year running. The police have again cited the public health threat posed by the pandemic. Questions are also being asked about whether the vigil would breach the national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020. The event is organised by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which has long called for an end to China’s “one party rule”. Some suggest this would constitute subversion.