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Record Hong Kong turnout as world remembers 1989 Tiananmen massacre

Tens of thousands gather in Victoria Park. (Photo courtesy: SCMP/ Winson Wong)

(TibetanReview.net, Jun05’19) – While the democratic world cannot stop talking about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, especially on its Jun 4th anniversary, China makes sure that everyone within the country, except the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, pretends that they know nothing about the massacre of peacefully protesting students and others by their supposedly national army on that fateful day.

Hong Kong, in particular, saw a record turnout of more than 180,000 people who turned the island’s Victoria Park into a sea of candles in an emotionally charged vigil on Jun 4 night, reported scmp.com Jun 5.

While Hong Kong police have put the turnout at 37,000 at its peak, this appeared to be a gross understatement when looking at the news media pictures of the event. Aerial photos of the vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park showed the crowd spilling over onto adjacent lawns after filling six football pitches, making it the biggest gathering since the Umbrella Movement protests in Hong Kong in 2014, noted the Cantonese Service of rfa.org Jun 4.

Organisers have attributed the massive turnout to this year’s event being the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen as well as the political fallout and public backlash over the extradition bill which would allow Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to the mainland and other jurisdictions it has no previous agreement with.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organised the vigil, has said well over 180,000 had attended, contrasting with last year’s 115,000.

A long yellow banner daubed with the words “June 4. Never Forget” was suspended from a rock on Beacon Hill in Kowloon on Jun 4, echoing a similar yellow banner calling for fully democratic elections in 2014, that was suspended from the city’s iconic Lion Rock, the report said.

* * *

In the US Capitol, people gathered on the West Lawn on Jun 4 to mark the occasion.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and ranking member on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, has said Chinese President Xi Jinping had “declared war on religion.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said, “I want to join my colleague from New Jersey, Chris Smith, who said we’re either for the man before the tank or we’re for the man who ordered the tanks on the kids.” And she continued, “We’re for the man before the tank. I think we can all agree on that.”

Pelosi then joined Jianli Wang of the Citizen Power Initiatives for China to unveil a sculpture by Thomas Marsh entitled “Tank Man,” a golden figure of a young Chinese protester with a hopeful expression.

And Marion Smith, executive director of Victims of Communism, has summed up the essence of the rally in his prepared remarks: “Thirty years ago, China’s so-called ‘People’s Liberation Army’ murdered thousands of its fellow citizens who dared to protest for democracy and against corruption in Tiananmen Square. An opportunity to reform China’s communist system in favor of the Chinese peoples’ rights was extinguished. On June 4, we gather to remember the sacrifices of those brave Chinese students and workers from 1989 and others around the world who have tried to keep their memory alive. It is our duty to make sure they did not die in vain.”

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and head of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has said it was so much worse in China now that the Tiananmen Square protest could not even take place.

And the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the US Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad, issued a statement for the occasion, calling on the US government to impose sanctions on Chinese officials and agencies who have perpetrated or tolerated severe religious freedom violations.

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