Only Hong Kong Left with a Conscious
As police blanket Tiananmen Square in a move seeking to curb any protests, only Hong Kong is left with a Conscious as China silently marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Within Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, Victoria Park was flooded with hundreds of thousands of candles lit in remembrance of the victims. Organisers of the event say approximately 150,000 people attended the event; however police try to dilute the event, saying the number was closer to 62,800.
“I’m deeply moved, it was proof that Hong Kong people still preserve their conscience,” said Debby Chan, a campaigner on behalf of mothers of the victims on the people that gathered.
“This rally will tell the world… that we still remember the Tiananmen Square democracy movement,” Xiong Yan, a student leader of the 1989 protests who was, surprisingly, let into Hong Kong on Sunday, said.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre was June 3-4, 1989 in which civilians were shot dead by the Chinese army during a devastating military operation to crush a democratic protest in Beijing. Demonstrators had occupied the square for seven weeks, refusing to move until their demands for democratic reform were met. The demonstrations which took place in Tiananmen Square have been described as the greatest challenge to the communist state in China since the 1949 revolution.
The Chinese government firmly defended its decision to put down demonstrations within China to mark the death of hundreds, but perhaps thousands. A heavy crowd of police, uniformed and plain-clothed, were present as rigorous bag and pocket searches were conducted on local and foreign tourists to the Square. Foreign Journalists were firmly denied entrance to the Square in the heart of the capital, with one AFP TV-journalist reprimanded and told to delete footage from his camera, whilst locals living near the square remained tight lipped on a subject which still remains taboo.
“There are far more police than normal days,” said a 35-year-old Chinese man, who said he frequently visits the square. “It’s because of June 4. It’s pretty scary having so much police. There are a lot of plainclothes officers, too.”
In the lead up to the event China has stepped up its Internet filtering blocking social networking pages such as Facebook, and blacking out some foreign news reports to continue to keep citizens in the black about the true facts of the day, and curtail public remembrance.
“The Communist Party has to acknowledge the crimes that it committed,” Qi Zhiyong, 53, who lost a leg in June 1989, said ahead of the anniversary, before being ordered out of sight.
In Poland, German chancellor Angela Merket paid respect to the Tiananmen protesters in a speech marking the 20th anniversary of watershed election that help speed-up the demise of the communist bloc in Europe.
“It’s a good day to remember that June 4, 1989 also marked a great sacrifice on Tiananmen Square. This should encourage us to support all those in the world who are seeking freedom.”