By Tyler Durden
Authorities may have banned an official peaceful demonstration honoring the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and passed a new law making “shows of disrespect” toward the Chinese National Anthem, but thousands of Hong Kongers are still finding ways to honor the 31st anniversary of a massacre where hundreds, or more likely thousands, of peaceful protesters were murdered by the Chinese military.
— Rachel Blundy (@rachelblundy) June 4, 2020
Beijing banned the peaceful vigil – an annual tradition – for the first time this year amid a crackdown on Hong Kong’s freedoms spurred by the pro-democracy movement that brought chaos and disorder to the streets of HK.
Twice, pro-democracy lawmakers disrupted proceedings as the new national anthem law was being passed.
Despite the declaration, crowds poured into Victoria Park to light candles and observe a minute of silence at 2009PA (0809ET). Many chanted “Democracy now” and “Stand for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Police stood by, playing recordings warning attendees not to engage in the vigil. Police also cited the need for social distancing to be maintained.
Police cited the need for social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak in barricading the sprawling park, but activists saw that as a convenient excuse.
“We all know the Hong Kong government and the Chinese government really don’t want to see the candle lights in Victoria Park,” said Wu’er Kaixi, a former student leader who was No. 2 on the government’s most-wanted list following the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
— Andy Vermaut (@AndyVermaut) June 4, 2020
Hundreds and possibly thousands of people were killed when tanks and troops moved in on the night of June 3-4, 1989, to break up weeks of student-led protests that had spread to other cities and were seen as a threat to Communist Party rule.
“The Chinese Communists want us all to forget about what happened 31 years ago,” Wu’er told the AP in Taiwan, where he lives. “But it is the Chinese government themselves reminding the whole world that they are the same government…doing the same in Hong Kong.”
Tiananmen Square itself was empty on Thursday, as Chinese police once again engaged in the practice of placing known dissidents under house arrest for the day.
Meanwhile, police arrested protesters in other parts of the city.
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