x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hong Kong honours Tiananmen massacre as China cracks down

Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre yesterday with impassioned calls to never forget the students who sacrificed their lives for democratic reform.

People attend a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong's Victoria Park today to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Chinese military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing. Kin Cheung / AP Photo
People attend a candlelight vigil at Hong Kong's Victoria Park today to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Chinese military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing. Kin Cheung / AP Photo

HONG KONG // Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre yesterday with impassioned calls to never forget the students who sacrificed their lives for democratic reform.

The former British colony is the only place in China where the brutal military intervention that ended weeks of nationwide democracy protests in 1989 is openly commemorated.

More than 150,000 people attended a candlelight vigil at the city's Victoria Park yesterday, an annual act of remembrance for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people killed in the June 3-4 onslaught.

For three days ahead of the vigil, students staged a re-enactment of the hunger strike that student leaders launched in Beijing's Tiananmen Square 23 years ago as they demanded a dialogue with leaders.

The anniversary is a "very symbolic event for the future of Hong Kong's social development", said Cheston Cheung, 28, a social worker.

"It represents the things that we believe in and we want to remind the Hong Kong people about this."

A Chinese Communist Party verdict after the Tiananmen protests branded the movement a "counter-revolutionary rebellion", and the events have been expunged from Chinese official history.