FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
BEIJING For 32 years, June 4 reminded the world and the Communist Party of Hong Kong’s uniqueness compared to Beijing and hundreds of other identical cities in China. In the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the police just weeks before the anniversary of Tiananmen rounded up the usual suspects, those who might have tried to keep alive the memory of the martyrs crushed by the 1989 repression for daring to ask for social democracy). In the former British colony, tens of thousands of people were free to gather at night in Victoria Park to remember the fallen.
Hong Kong, the square that remembers the victims of Tiananmen empties: the first time in 31 years
Commemorating Tiananmen would now also be a crime in Hong Kong, because the Party-State always considers subversive the boys massacred in the night between 3 and 4 June 1989. But, hypocritically, the police denied the meeting permit again this year for health reasons.
Victoria Park was closed yesterday and manned by police cordons; loudspeakers warned people not to approach; in the City 7,000 agents were mobilized to monitor. Despite threats of arrest, groups of courageous citizens lit candles and cell phone lights in the streets of the City during the night. The American Consulate also displayed lights in the windows. And the old Catholic cardinal Joseph Zen celebrated a mass in suffrage for the fallen of Tiananmen, saying in his homily: They only asked for a clean government, but they had to leave the world with the mark of rioters.
As a precaution, the police had arrested yesterday morning Chow Hang-tung, vice president of the Democratic Alliance that organized the vigil. Chow, 37, a lawyer, had announced his determination to light a candle on the street at 8pm. They handcuffed her to give an example. More arrests in the night.
Hong Kongers who lit up their smartphones show that there is still a difference between their city and Beijing. In the capital of China for decades there has been no need to ban any demonstration: the strategy of collective amnesia has clouded the memory, the censorship has removed all references to Tiananmen and to June 4, 1989, the Party-State in exchange for the renunciation of memory has guaranteed people the relentless run of the economy. Anyway, any Pekingese knows that meeting in public (or even in private) would lead to prison. In Hong Kong, however, the lights in the night are still flashes of freedom.
Lee Cheuk-yan, a veteran of the democratic movement jailed for the protests of 2019, lit a cigarette in the cell: I protest by sending smoke signals.
June 4, 2021 (change June 4, 2021 | 23:36)
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