Hong Kongers must celebrate the Tiananmen outbreak on the night of June 3-4, 31 years ago, on Thursday. But they will not be able to participate in the traditional memory collection that is banned for the first time. Beijing cites the risks with Covid-19.
31 years ago, on the night of June 3-4, 1989, the Chinese army and its tanks took over Tiananmen Square, the epicenter of outstanding student demonstrations, in the heart of Beijing. The army shoots at crowds while movement is suppressed across the country. Oppression kills between hundreds and more than a thousand and ends seven weeks of student and worker protests condemning corruption and demanding democracy.
Since then, huge crowds remember every year in Hong Kong the bloody intervention of the Chinese army. The autonomous territory of Beijing shipyard since 1997 is the only place in China to mark the event, devenutabou for Beijing. An AFP photographer was even arrested by police on Thursday morning, forcing him to erase most of his photos as he drove near Tiananmen Square.
But for the first time in three decades, the Hong Kong Wake was not approved by the police this year. She cited the risks associated with Covid-19, as gatherings of more than eight people remained banned. In exchange, organizers urged residents to light candles at 8pm local time (12 noon) where they are.
“White lights are expected to be distributed in about 100 to 200 points in Hong Kong,” said Chiu Yan-loy, district elected official and member of the Alliance Association of Hong Kong, traditional organizer of the watch.
An important anniversary in connection with tensions with Beijing
Vigils generally attract crowds of Hong Kongers, especially when relations with Beijing deteriorate.eThe anniversary had already taken place in a tense political context: the Hong Kong CEO was trying to introduce permits for extractions to China. A week later, seven months of almost daily demonstrations began in the financial metropolis.
In response to this move, Beijing announced at the end of May its intention to introduce a national security law on Hong Kong, which plans to punish separatist, “terrorist” activities, subversion and foreign involvement in the territory.
>> China: Tiananmen, the forbidden memory
On the Chinese mainland, no public memorial day is possible: the media is silent, the censors erase all mentions on the Internet and the police closely follow the dissidents before the fateful date of June 4. Evidence of the subject’s extreme sensitivity, even light emojis, has become available on the popular Chinese social network Weibo.
Washington urges Beijing to report on massacres
The United States has praised the victims’ memory, as it does every year. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met four people from the movement on Wednesday in Washington, including one of the most important student leaders at the time, Wang Dan.
Washington urged Beijing to provide “a complete picture” of the massacre, whose anniversary this year telescopes in US news: President Donald Trump has threatened to urge the army to stop the outbreaks observed across the country on the sidelines of the protests against racism and police violence.
Asked about the outbreak, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that the Chinese authorities “had already reached a clear conclusion on the political turmoil that occurred in the late 1980s”.
“New China’s great progress over the last 70 years has completely shown that the development path China has chosen is absolutely correct,” says Zhao Lijian.