For years, China has quashed any discussion on the mainland of its bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, nearly erasing what happened from the collective consciousness. Now it may be Hong Kong's turn, as China's ruling Communist Party pulls the city more directly into its orbit.
The semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong and nearby Macao were for years the last places on Chinese soil allowed to publicly mark the events of June 4, 1989, when the People's Liberation Army opened fire on student-led protesters in a crackdown that left hundreds, if not thousands, dead.
Before last year, tens of thousands gathered annually in Hong Kong's Victoria Park, lighting candles and singing songs to remember the victims. But authorities, citing the coronavirus pandemic, are banning that vigil for the second straight year. And a museum dedicated to the event suddenly closed Wednesday, just two days before Friday's anniversary, after authorities investigated it for lacking the necessary licenses to hold a public exhibition.
Hong Kong's security minister warned residents last week against taking part in unauthorized assemblies.
Despite the restrictions this year, there are calls for Hongkongers to remember the 1989 crackdown in private, with vigil organizers calling on residents to light a candle at 8 p.m. Friday no matter where they are.
Online calls circulating on social media also urged residents to dress in black on Friday. Local newspaper Ming Pao last week published an article suggesting that residents write the numbers six and four on their light switches - a nod to the June 4 date - so each flip of the switch is also an act of remembrance.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy activists in Japan marched to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo on June 4 marking the anniversary of Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protests.A view of an empty Victoria Park in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on June 4, 2021, the venue where Hong Kong people traditionally gather annually to mourn the victims of Chinas deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 which the authorities have now banned and vowed to stamp out any protests on the anniversary.
With inputs from AP.Hong Kong police arrest pro-democracy activist ahead of candlelight vigil marking Tiananmen crackdown; Twitter furious
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