1000s remember Tiananmen crackdown

2015-06-04 17:04
Tiananmen vigil. (AP)

Tiananmen vigil. (AP)

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Hong Kong - Thousands of people on Thursday took part in a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong to remember those who died in China's Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, while the city grapples with its own democratic aspirations.

This is the first vigil taking place in Hong Kong since pro-democracy protests rocked the city for almost three months last year, but none of the hostility between the police and the public during the Occupy movement was on view.

Instead the city is split on whether to support efforts in China or to focus on home turf, where they feel Beijing is increasingly threatening their freer way of life.

Some students involved in the Occupy movement held separate ceremonies across Hong Kong, saying they would prefer to focus on the fight locally. 

But the older generation of democracy advocates holds a different view.

"If we want to really show the Hong Kong community supports [democracy in China], it's better to hold the vigil together and be counted together," Leung Kwok-hung, a pro-democracy legislator, told dpa.

Leung said that striving for democracy in greater China was key, and that the struggle cannot be separated from Hong Kong's own democratic aspirations.

"At the end of the day there's a 4 000-strong PLA garrison in Hong Kong ... Can you forget about the CCP?" he said, referring to the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party.

"It's like someone living in Newcastle saying London doesn't matter."

Yet others said it did not matter where people paid their respects.

"Different people have different ways, but we're all fighting for the same thing," said Match Ip, an 18-year-old student at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, who took part in the vigil. 

The bloody crackdown in Beijing that took place on June 4 1989, saw an unknown number of people killed while lobbying for democracy, against the rule of the communist party.

The day the tanks rolled in and the army opened fire on students is a taboo subject on the mainland.

Hong Kong is the only place in China where people are able to openly discuss what happened that day.

Tiananmen Mothers, a group of women whose children were killed during the massacre, in a letter published by Human Rights in China, demanded a list of the dead, compensation for their families and the punishment of those responsible for the massacre.

The current leaders of China "should also bear historical responsibility for their predecessors' crimes", the group said.

Read more on:    hong kong  |  china

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