What people are saying about Tiananmen anniversary and vigil ban in Hong Kong 

People cycle in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, June 3, 2021. Picture shot through a window. REUTERS/Thomas Peter


June 4, 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong police banned a vigil commemorating the 1989 crackdown by Chinese troops on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square for a second year in a row.

Following are some comments on the anniversary, which is particularly awkward for Beijing this year, as it celebrates 100 years of the Communist Party. Some residents declined to give their full name due to the sensitivity of the matter.

CHOW HANG TUNG, VICE-CHAIRWOMAN OF THE HONG KONG ALLIANCE IN SUPPORT OF PATRIOTIC DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS OF CHINA, ORGANISER OF THE ANNUAL VIGIL, WHO WAS ARRESTED EARLY ON FRIDAY FOR PROMOTING AN UNAUTHORISED ASSEMBLY

"As long as they haven’t said candles are illegal, we will light a candle.

"It's a sign of whether we can defend our bottom line of morality ... That's the test."

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN ON TWITTER

"June 4 is the 32nd anniversary of the PRC’s deadly crackdown in Tiananmen Square, killing thousands of protesters simply calling for their rights and freedoms to be respected. Human rights are universal, and all governments must protect and promote them."

TAIWAN PRESIDENT TSAI ING-WEN ON FACEBOOK

"I believe for all Taiwanese who are proud of their freedom and democracy, they will never forget about this day and will firmly stick with their faith, unshaken by challenges.

"We will also not forget about the young people who sacrificed themselves on Tiananmen Square on this day 32 years ago, and year after year, friends in Hong Kong who always mourn June 4 with candlelight."

WANG DAN, ONE OF THE STUDENT LEADERS AT THE 1989 TIANANMEN SQUARE PROTESTS, SPEAKING TO CABLE TV

"I really don’t see any hope now. We still don’t have democracy and freedom. For Hong Kong people, they lost what they once had, so it’s even more heartbreaking to see."

"Most of my Hong Kong friends are either in jail or in exile. There have already been many arrests, we don’t need more unnecessary sacrifices. We all know if we take to the streets now, they will continue to make arrests. I think it’s unnecessary."

SUNNY CHEUNG, ACTIVIST IN EXILE, IN A TEXT MESSAGE TO REUTERS

"It is a battle against oblivion. For so long, HK has been the only place where can hold vigils to commemorate victims of the 6.4 and that defines HK as the only beacon of liberty and truth under the CCP’s governance."

JAILED ACTIVIST JIMMY SHAM, VIA HIS FACEBOOK PAGE

"This June 4th, I will also light a cigarette at 8pm. We do not see the hope of democracy and freedom in a leader, a group, or a ceremony, every one of us is the hope of democracy and freedom."

YAMINI MISHRA, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S ASIA-PACIFIC REGIONAL DIRECTOR

"Once again, the Hong Kong authorities are using COVID-19 as a pretext to muzzle the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. People must not be punished for the simple act of lighting a candle in memory of the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown."

YOU WEIJIE, SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE TIANANMEN MOTHERS GROUP, SPEAKING TO PUBLIC BROADCASTER RTHK IN BEIJING

"Banning the rally for reasons other than relating to the epidemic, I think would be against humanity. The Hong Kong government should not intervene.

"We have to see how the government will handle the candlelight vigil in the future.

"I had already expected sooner or later the government would intervene, would stop people from commemorating June 4. Hong Kong now has the power, the strength or it thinks the time has come to stop the vigil, and wants people to forget about it.

"Perhaps the candlelight vigil can't be held, but I believe in the hearts of Hong Kong people there will always be a candlelight, a righteous candlelight. Even if there's no rally at Victoria Park, people will be remembering the massacre in their hearts and mourn for the victims."

HAN DONGFANG, 58, TIANANMEN PROTESTER AND LABOUR ACTIVIST, SPEAKING TO REUTERS NEAR VICTORIA PARK

"If you are afraid, you would be afraid of it 32 years ago. It’s part of my life now. I am a Beijing Hong Konger. I was in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago. I was jailed before. Hong Kong hasn't died yet ... We need to know that Hong Kong still hasn’t died.

"As long as I am a human, still breathing, how can I forget?”

RESIDENTS:

CHAN, 30, HEALTH WORKER, OUTSIDE VICTORIA PARK

"There will be some people lighting candles, but not many due to the heavy police presence. I will not go as I am afraid of being arrested."

WONG, 60, RETIREE

Wong has been to more than 20 vigils for June 4 and said he will light a candle in a place other than Victoria Park.

"The ban does not put out the candlelight in my heart."

WONG, 25, DESIGNER

"The oppression by the Hong Kong government has become more serious. It’s unnecessary to risk it."

She said she did not plan to mark the event.

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