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Six held as many in Hong Kong held subdued individual commemorations of Tiananmen massacre

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun06’22) – Despite the fact that China had effectively banned any marking of the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Hong Kong, heavy police presence failed to deter many in the supposedly special administrative region from conducting their own acts of commemoration on Jun 4. Hong Kong police confirmed that six people were arrested, reported the bbc.co.uk and the edition.cnn.com May 5.

Large parts of Victoria Park, the traditional venue for three decades since 1990 for holding candlelight vigil for the unknown number running into thousands of victims of the Tiananmen massacre, was closed. Police warned residents that they risked committing the crime of “unlawful assembly” if they showed up in the park – even if alone.

Nevertheless, some still approached the park and conducted their own acts of commemoration in defiance – by holding up electronic candles and phone flashlights or quietly singing songs of remembrance, said the edition.cnn.com report.

Five men and one woman, between the ages of 19 and 80 were arrested. One was accused of possessing an offensive weapon; three were accused of obstructing officers; and one was said to have incited others to join an unauthorised assembly. It was not clear what the sixth person was accused of, the report said.

Throughout Jun 4, large numbers of police were reported to have patrolled the park and the neighboring Causeway Bay shopping district.

Among those they stopped and searched were stated to be people wearing black – the color of protest in Hong Kong, carrying flowers or walking with their phone torches switched on.

The police also cordoned off an area of a nearby shopping street where in previous years pro-democracy activists would gather to promote the vigil, sending some passersby there to be searched, the report said.

Victoria was sealed off entirely after nightfall, with the police driving residents out with advancing cordon lines and eventually blocking off all the entrances, allowing people only to leave the park.

Acts of subdued but defiant protest were stated to be everywhere. 

For example, inside the park, two women sang “Democracy Will Triumph and Return,” one of the vigil’s traditional songs, as they walked down a jogging path. Police followed not far behind, pressing forward the cordon line.

Brian, a man in his 30s dressed fully in black, was stated to have switched on the flashlight of his phone at 8 pm, the traditional lighting-up time, vowing his readiness to pay the price.

Outside the park, people who could no longer enter walked along nearby streets, some with their phone flash lights turned on.

And Joe, 46, brought his 11-year-old daughter to the park, only to be denied entry. They stood at a bus stop across the road instead, each holding an electric candle.

“I want to let her known what happened back then, as much as I can,” he has said.

China’s erasure of public displays of June Fourth – as the Tiananmen anniversary is popularly known in Chinese – has become near-total in Hong Kong since Beijing enacted a national security law on the island in 2020, said the bbc.co.uk report.

Self-ruled Taiwan is one of the only parts of the Chinese-speaking world where it can be commemorated openly, and on Jun 4 hundreds of people gathered in the capital Taipei, the report said.

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