The Chinese Communist Party is ready to extinguish the latest public event in the Beijing-controlled area Tiananmen Square massacre – a goal that has been avoided for more than three decades.
The annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park usually draws tens of thousands of people to remember 1989. The memory of those killed in Beijing on June 4, when the Lib People’s Liberation Army suppressed the protests of pro-democracy protesters and their supporters in the Chinese capital.
Meanwhile last year’s vigilance was banned by Hong Kong police for public health reasons as the area battled the Covid-19 epidemic, with thousands still gathering to light candles as police watched.
This year’s gathering, which was scheduled for Friday, was also banned due to the epidemic. But activists say Hong Kong is less likely to take another act of mass contempt. Law on National Security last year, which included harsh sanctions for sabotage and other crimes against the state.
The vigil, which has been held since 1990, is seen as highly symbolic of Hong Kong’s freedoms, showing the spirit of the city’s independence to the rest of the world. It became one of the most important annual events for pro-democracy groups, where families lit candles and sang songs.
Many believe that the security law will make it impossible to preserve future monuments even after the epidemic has receded.
“With this move, Hong Kong is approaching being another Chinese city,” said Minxin Pey, a China expert at Claremont McKenna College in California. “This year they may be hiding behind the epidemic.” “Next year they will use another excuse.”
The mainland academician, who advises Beijing on Hong Kong policy, said the Chinese government could no longer tolerate vigilance.
“The congress has a political purpose; it contradicts the law on national security, which prohibits the distortion of state power,” he said. “It is not a simple gathering.”
He said China should be vigilant if the meeting leads to “political upheaval.”
Dozens of activists – some of them who took part in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong two years ago – like last year’s banned vigilance – are in jail for participating in or organizing unauthorized protests. Many are awaiting trial for alleged violations of national security law, punishable by up to life in prison.
A recent bail application by Claudia Moy, one of 47 defendants in the mass subversive trial, was rejected after prosecutors cited interviews with Western media outlets. The prosecution cited WhatsApp messages and TV interviews in which it said the National Security Act had caused a “political upheaval” in the area.
However, many Hong Kong residents will celebrate Tiananmen’s 32nd birthday this year by lighting private candles.
Imprisoned pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-yan, jailed for his role in the 2019 protests, told friends he would send smoke signals from his cell with a burning cigarette.
“June 4 symbolizes Hong Kong’s freedom,” said Chow Hang-tung, a lawyer, human rights activist and vice president of the Hong Kong Alliance, which supports the Patriotic Democratic Movement of China. “Today the risk of any kind of political participation is very high, [the authorities] They control people with fear. “
But he added that “the strength accumulated within each person for 32 years is not so easy to set foot on.”
Chao said the government was still using the epidemic as an excuse not to ban the memorial service for national security reasons, as “there will be a lot of feedback.”
Another member of the bloc, Richard Soy, claims that while this year’s monuments may be “less visible, we can maintain our strength.” [hopefully] They have the ability to mourn in the future. “
Willy Lam, a China expert at the University of Hong Kong, said he expected some mourners to appear, although the government’s “tough tactics” and threats of imprisonment were likely to convince the majority of those present.
Many pro-Beijing figures in Hong Kong have argued that the bloc’s goals, which support the “end of one-party dictatorship” in China, run counter to the National Security Act.
“I do not agree with the people who are using this event to promote a subversive agenda,” said Ronnie Tong. Carrie Lam, Executive Director of Hong Kong. Regina Yip, another pro-Beijing politician, said the event was being used as a “big stick on wood”.
However, other members of the Hong Kong-based establishment fear that the Lam administration has gone too far in trying to please Beijing.
More efforts are being made to review how Hong Kong և teaches Chinese history in the area. School curricula are being rewritten և The local museum was temporarily closed on June 4 after officials accused it of violating local laws.
“It’s getting worse,” said a veteran of the area’s pro-Beijing political camp, who said the pressure was too much. “Beijing cannot tolerate a single dissenting voice.”
Additional report by Xinning Liu in Beijing