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Almost 150,000 Attend Tiananmen Square Vigil in Hong Kong (VIDEO)

Almost 150,000 Attend Tiananmen Square Vigil in Hong Kong (VIDEO)

Almost 150,000 people attended a rally in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park today, in commemoration of the attack on the protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989. Those at the rally lit candles and sang in memory of those who lost their lives 22 years ago. Pre-recorded footage by the Tiananmen mothers — who all lost someone killed during the 1989 protests — was shown. Activists described the human rights situation as deteriorating even more this year, as Chinese authorities have clamped down and arrested dissidents, lawyers and others including world-renowned artist Ai WeiWei.

Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

In a sign of the issues on the minds of many attendees, vendors outside the park sold T-shirts with references to artist Ai Weiwei, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government who has been detained for more than a month, and the Jasmine Revolution — an allusion Tunisia’s revolution and to calls for political reform.

As a special administrative unit of China, Hong Kong has its own laws and a rally has been held every year since 1989. Such gatherings are forbidden on the Chinese mainland.

Organizers from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China said that the situation in China is the darkest it has been in the past 22 years as the Chinese government has been using the uprisings in the Middle East to “justify their heavy-handed tactics ‘outside of the law.’” The Alliance’s Chairman, Lee Cheuk-yan, said that the June 4 vigils are attracting more and more attention from mainland visitors to Hong Kong.

Earlier last week, 127 of the Tiananmen Mothers had signed a letter about the situation in China, says the Wall Street Journal:

…[the letter says] a security official had approached one of the mothers in February to discuss the possibility of financial compensation, without any mention of carrying out judicial investigations or accepting responsibility. The letter said that turmoil in the Middle East and other countries have stoked such fear among Chinese authorities that the human rights situation in China is the worst it has been since 1989.

In Taiwan, some 500 people gathered in Taipei’s Liberty Square, formerly named after the dictator Chiang Kai-Shek; the square was renamed during Taiwan’s 2007 democracy movement:

a statement Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou called for the release of detained dissidents Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei as a “first step” toward political reform. He said China’s “spotty track record” on human rights and democracy stood in stark contrast to its recent economic growth, isolating it from the international community and harming Chinese society.

“Taiwan’s experience in transitioning from an authoritarian state to a democracy shows that reform, while not painless, is certainly no disaster. Rather, it is a new beginning. It brings stability and progress, and builds trust in the government,” he said. “As we look back upon the June 4th incident, we urgently hope the mainland Chinese authorities will have the courage to undertake political reforms and promote the development of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law.”

Below is a video of Tiananmen mother Ding Zilin speaking to the June 4 vigil in Hong Kong.

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Ai WeiWei Supporters Detained, Questioned by Beijing Police

Wife of Detained Chinese Artist Ai WeiWei Allowed Supervised Visit

“Who’s Afraid of Ai WeiWei?” Graffiti Campaign Challenges Chinese

China Detains Artist Ai Wei Wei, Designer of Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium

 

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25 comments

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9:09AM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

thanks for sharing.

1:34AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

Johnathon Y ! When I arrived in China, I disliked their system so much all I wanted to do was come home.

Two kindly Chinese adopted me and persuaded me to try and stick it out. I did. Lived and worked in 3 different major cities including Beijing and Shanghai, the latter being the most exciting city in the world. I travelled over most of the regions.

The tragedy known in the west as Tiananmen Square was finished by drastic action and lives were lost.

The result however was another 2 decades of political stabilty which has seen the Chinese attain economic freedoms and freedoms from crime. This may not appeal to westerners but it is what the average Zhou in the street wants.

I no longer live in China through retirement, but guess that any future attempts to destabilise the exisitng order and any threat to the existing prosperity will be met with firm action and pre emptive strikes against known trouble makers to prevent bloodshed occurring on the scale of the Tiananmen incident.

Many people quote individual Chinese , but little consideration is given to the 90% = 1.2 billion who are very contented with the status quo.

It is my humble view that human rights and opportunities should apply to the masses as well as individuals.



11:31PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Jonathan Y, Really? How easily USAmericans can give excuses for the brutality, aggression, warmongering, murder, invasions, occupations & on & on & on of the USofA, the biggest exporter of State Terrorism in the world. 'Only' 4 students murdered by the state military? Shucks! How silly of us to find that offensive. Even one would be too much. You still didn't give an excuse for why there are no yearly commerations for those murders. You don't think the Chinese leaders weren't shaken up & changed after Tianamen Square? Yes, they were, too. So? A lesser oppression by the State is no cause for celebration & excuses. It still is oppression & murder. To excuse it as less is to debase the victims. Do you think the parents of the Kent State murdered students feel better that their kids were murdered by US soldiers instead of Chinese ones? Next you'll be justifying the immoral invasion of Iraq & the US's overthrowing of elected leaders, installing right wing dictators & teaching them how to control their people with terror, torture & murder from Guatemala to Chile to Haiti to Iran & far too many others these past decades to force 'American Values' of Corporate Capitalist greed on the world. Take off your blinders. Oh, & don't forget the infamous brutality of the police at the Chicago demonstrations at the Democratic Convention, or the many coal miners murdered just for demonstrating for humane working conditions. There are so

7:38PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

So sad - I remember when it happened and there was continuous media coverage. Those brave protesters who stood fast and were run over and killed by govenment tanks - what a horrible way to die.

5:36PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Sorry, but equating Tiananmen with Kent State is just not factual:

I agree Kent State was murder, but 4 students died and several more were wounded. The incident caused a huge national uproar and the national strike of 4 million students and professors. It embarrassed the Nixon administration and divided his cabinet. It led to a complete re-write of National Guard crowd control policy. It was followed by lawsuits and awards to the victims, and a formal apology from the Guard unit involved.

The Chinese dictatorship has not ever acknowledged any wrongdoing or even that any people were killed at Tiananmen, despite videotape from int'l news outlets showing soldiers shooting into the crowds. So saying no-one died in the Square is just regurgitating propaganda put out by the dictatorship. The govt. and People's Army claim only 241 died in other places ('mostly thugs' they say), while the Chinese Red Cross' initial estimate was at least 2,600, the majority of them unarmed students. Our State Dept. and Russian intelligence put the number well above 3,000. It was a deliberate, crushing massacre not just of individual protesters but of the whole democracy movement in China. Her people deserve better. No national outcry, nor public protests about it were ever allowed.

These events are both state murder but in no way are they equal, not even close in scale and level of premeditated brutality.

8:40AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

thanks

7:05AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

We are always reminded of this terrible event, even here in the West it is remarked on, yet where is there ever a commeration & remembrance of those students, and their mourning mothers, fathers, families and friends who were murdered in much the same way by the National Guard military & for the same reason (unwanted political protest) at Kent State University in the USofA??? When's the last time you heard it even mentioned in the conservative corporate-owned media or by any of the corporate-owned politicians? Not allowed! So maybe we shouldn't be so hard on China when the US murdered its own student protestors by the National Guard military for similar reasons & no one in the US ever marks that anniversary, do they? How convenient, as usual.

4:37AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:59AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

A Chinese curse is "May you live in interesting times." We certainly are. It's amazing how much has happened since that iconic photo was snapped. Peace.

7:43PM PDT on Jun 5, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

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