tirsdag 31. mai 2022

Hong Kong churches drop Tiananmen tributes after 33 years amid arrest fears

For the first time in 33 years, church services to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown will not be held in Hong Kong, erasing one of the last reminders of China’s bloody suppression of the 1989 protests. Since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in 2020 to snuff out pro-democracy demonstrations, once-packed candlelit vigils have been banned, a Tiananmen museum has been forced to close and statues have been pulled down.

The annual Catholic masses were one of the last ways for Hong Kongers to come together publicly to remember the deadly clampdown in Beijing on 4 June 1989, when the Chinese government set tanks and troops on peaceful demonstrators. But this year, they too have been cancelled over fears of falling foul of Hong Kong authorities.

“We find it very difficult under the current social atmosphere,” said Rev Martin Ip, chaplain of the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, one of the organisers. “Our bottom line is that we don’t want to breach any law in Hong Kong,” he said.