【 Radio Free Asia 】   Post Date: 6/1/2015
For Now, Hong Kong Remains a Focus For Tiananmen Massacre Anniversary
Author: Lin Jing, Yin Kejing,Yang Fan and Qiao Long
While the sensitive topic is banned from public debate across the internal border in mainland China, where those who mark the massacre or call for justice for its victims often end up in jail, thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong Island on Sunday in a march to Beijing's representative office in the territory to call for a reappraisal of the crackdown.
2015-06-01
 
 
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Pro-democracy demonstrators march to Beijing's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, May 31, 2015.
RFA
 
Many of the hundreds of thousands of people who thronged the streets at the height of Hong Kong's 79-day Umbrella Movement for universal suffrage last year said they did so partly out of fear that the city's traditional freedoms may be fast eroding.
 
For now, however, Hong Kong remains a focus for activists and political commentators wishing to mark the sensitive anniversary of China's June 4, 1989 military crackdown on weeks of student-led pro-democracy protests in Beijing.
 
While the sensitive topic is banned from public debate across the internal border in mainland China, where those who mark the massacre or call for justice for its victims often end up in jail, thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong Island on Sunday in a march to Beijing's representative office in the territory to call for a reappraisal of the crackdown.
 
Chanting slogans and carrying banners calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to "Overturn the verdict on June 4," demonstrators marched to the Central Government Liaison Office, which is increasingly becoming a focus for protest in the city since the 1997 handover to Chinese rule.
 
More events will follow, not least the now-traditional candlelight vigil in Victoria Park, which this year will also remember the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement.
 
"Apart from [Sunday's] demonstration, we also call on people to gather on [Thursday] at 8.00 p.m. in Victoria Park to continue to light the candles of conscience, and to continue our fight for a reappraisal of June 4, 1989," Richard Choi, deputy chairman of event organizers the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, told RFA.
 
'Our demands are the same'
 
Sunday's demonstrators have already given hints of an irrevocable association between the Occupy Central movement and the 1989 pro-democracy protests in the minds of Hong Kong activists.
 
At the start of the march, demonstrators opened dozens of yellow umbrellas, the icon of the Umbrella Movement since protesters used them to ward off pepper spray attacks from riot police on Sept. 28, 2014.
 
"The Communist Party's massacre of students who called for democracy and freedom is proof that the party aren't herbivores," one protester told RFA on Sunday.
 
"I am taking part in the demonstration so as to perpetuate the spirit of June 4," the protester said.
 
Meanwhile, Labour Party lawmaker and trade unionist Lee Cheuk-yan brushed aside reports of deep divisions in Hong Kong's activist body in the wake of the Occupy movement, which have resulted in a boycott of the Victoria Park vigil by the city's student federation.
 
"Our demands are the same: the reappraisal of the verdict on June 4, and an end to a single-party dictatorship," Lee said.
 
He said a controversial package of electoral reforms that was endorsed by Beijing on Aug. 31, and which sparked the Umbrella Movement, will soon be presented with no amendments to Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo).
 
"This year, it is also the year of the reform package, and ... the Chinese Communist Party has slapped down our demand for universal suffrage as well," Lee said.
 
"This puts the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement right on the front line of the struggle," he said.
 
Key Words: June 4th,Tiananmen,Tiananmen Massacre,Hong Kong
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