Police break FORBIDDEN memorial to mark 33 years since protest in Tiananmen Square where ‘10,000 died’
Police in Hong Kong dispersed crowds to mark the anniversary of the student protest in Tiananmen Square, which killed up to 10,000 civilians in 1989.
Mentioning the violent crackdown on students, which happened 33 years ago today, has been illegal in Hong Kong since Beijing tightened its grip on the territory in 2020.
Many leaders of the vigil organizers, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, are currently incarcerated.
And police closed Victoria Park, the public square in the city center where thousands of Hong Kongers commemorated the event.
Hong Kong police have arrested a man for attending the memorial before a crowd was surrounded
Police were pictured leading people away from shuttered Victoria Park in the city center
China justified the protest ban as a Covid prevention measure.
Hong Kong puppet leader Carrie Lam said this week all events commemorating the victims of the 1989 oppression would be subject to national security laws.
About 30 people gathered in Kowloon, northern Hong Kong, in 1989 to pray for those “who died for justice.”
That’s despite the local Catholic Church canceling services set to mark the massacre, the FT reported.
Puppet leader Carrie Lam warned dissenters they would face national security laws
A police officer holds a bag of confiscated LED candles used to commemorate Tiananmen
A church member told the newspaper, “The public memorials may have disappeared this year, but what I remember in my heart, you can’t make it disappear.”
Last month, a church leader and ex-opposition activist was arrested in Hong Kong on charges of ‘conspiracy with foreign troops’.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun was arrested along with former opposition lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee and pro-democracy singer Denise Ho Wan-sze.
Numerous statues and public memorials to mark Tiananmen Square have been dismantled in Hong Kong since the Beijing crackdown was completed last year.
“To remember is to resist,” prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao told Reuters from the United States.
Police stand guard at a shopping center near Victoria Park in Hong Kong earlier today
One of the most famous photos ever taken, the so-called ‘tankman’ standing in front of heavily armed Chinese soldiers in Tiananmen Square, 1989. It is unknown what happened to him after that
Between 50,000 and 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square in 1989, killing many. Charger Chai Ling (pictured standing) addresses the crowd. She now lives in the US
Few images of state oppression have come out of China, but signs of destruction were clear
“If no one remembers, the suffering of the people will never stop and the perpetrators will continue their crimes with impunity.”
In China-claimed Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen denounced the “June 4 collective memory being systematically erased in Hong Kong.”
“But we believe such brute force cannot erase people’s memories,” she posted on her Facebook and Instagram pages.
Human rights lawyer Teng Biao said of Tiananmen Square (pictured): ‘To remember is to resist’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Tiananmen’s actions “a brutal attack” and added: “The efforts of these brave individuals will not be forgotten.”
A wave of protests in 2020 failed to overturn China’s National Security Law (NSL), the mandate the state has since jailed hundreds of dissenting activists on.
It is widely seen as a crackdown on Hong Kongers’ rights and a betrayal of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle that had been in effect since the island city returned to Chinese control in 1997.
The principle was intended to protect Hong Kong’s independence for 50 years – until 2047 – plus the right to an independent judiciary.
Crowds gathered in the early hours of this morning at Liberty Square in Taipei, Taiwan
A Taiwanese activist was pictured today holding a flag proclaiming ‘Hong Kong independence’
Taiwanese showed solidarity with the growing oppression of Hongkongers by the Chinese state
But under the 2021 law, the crime of “conspiracy with foreign troops” is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Cases can be sent to the mainland for trial, which casts doubt on the independence and fairness of any trial held there.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated Beijing’s line on the events during a routine press conference on Thursday.
“The Chinese government has long since come to a clear conclusion about the political incident that happened in the late 1980s,” he said.
The cardinal’s arrest came after China appointed the ex-security chief, who oversaw the crackdown, as the region’s new leader.
John Lee, 64, was the only candidate in the Beijing-backed race to succeed outgoing leader Carrie Lam last month.
The raise of Lee, currently subject to US sanctions, places a security official in the top position for the first time in a tumultuous few years for a city ravaged by political unrest and grueling pandemic controls.
Despite the city’s mini-constitution promising universal suffrage, Hong Kong has never been a democracy, the source of years of public frustration and protests since its handover to China in 1997.
The leader is instead chosen by an “election committee” currently made up of 1,461 people – about 0.02 percent of the city’s population.
After a short secret ballot in May, 99 percent of voters (1,416 members) voted for Lee.
Only eight voted against, officials said.