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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Hong Kong authorities snuff out Tiananmen Square commemorations

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Commemorations in Hong Kong of the Tiananmen Square bloodbath have largely been snuffed out, as authorities search to crush observance of the crackdown on scholar protesters in a metropolis that has sometimes held the largest annual vigil on Chinese soil.

The anniversary is likely one of the most delicate occasions for Chinese authorities, with dialogue of the demonstrations censored on the mainland and survivors or victims’ households routinely detained or interrogated.

Hong Kong hosted the world’s largest yearly commemoration each June 4 till it was banned in 2020, a yr after pro-democracy protests engulfed the Chinese territory. Authorities subsequently suppressed opposition and Beijing prolonged its management of the quasi-autonomous metropolis.

Officials stated the ban two years in the past was to manage the coronavirus pandemic however critics accused the federal government of utilizing the well being disaster as a pretext for stifling dissent.

Leaders of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the group which historically organised the vigil, have been arrested and lots of are in jail. Chow Hang-tung, one of many jailed organisers, usually makes use of her court docket appearances to evoke reminiscences of the bloodbath.

Authorities have closed Victoria Park this yr, the place tens of 1000’s of residents sometimes gentle candles to commemorate the occasion, from Friday evening till early Sunday morning.

Police monitored the realm after a small variety of artists carried out close to the park on Friday and have been rapidly ushered away or taken for questioning.

Some residents discovered delicate methods to commemorate the bloodbath.

The Catholic church has marked the occasion in particular lots for greater than three many years however has been stung by the arrest of Cardinal Zen, its former high cleric, final month. He was accused of failing to register a fund set as much as assist pay the authorized and medical charges of members within the 2019 protests. Cardinal Zen has denied the fees.

Tens of 1000’s of Hong Kong residents gathered in 2014 to gentle candles within the largest annual commemoration of the Tiananmen Square bloodbath on Chinese soil © AP

At a morning mass in Kowloon on Saturday, about 30 individuals prayed for these “who died for justice” regardless of the Catholic diocese cancelling companies to mark the bloodbath.

“Public memorials may be gone this year, but what I remember in my heart, you cannot make it disappear,” stated one congregant.

Hong Kong college students have additionally been attempting to commemorate the protests. Universities have been a focus of Beijing’s makes an attempt to destroy assist for the 2019 pro-democracy protests and longstanding memorials to the Tiananmen Square bloodbath on campuses have been eliminated.

The “Pillar of Shame”, an eight-metre sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt that was on show on the University of Hong Kong since 1997, was dismantled final December.

The “Goddess of Democracy” statue on the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a reproduction of a monument erected by the scholar protesters in Tiananmen Square, was eliminated that month.

CUHK college students this week created tiny replicas of the lacking paintings and hid them across the campus for others to search out earlier than the occasion was ended because of “increasing risks”, the organisers stated.

In Macau, one of many solely different components of China the place memorial occasions have been held till they have been banned from 2020, no public commemorations will happen after authorities stated final yr’s occasions might represent “subversion”.

Tiananmen Square vigils have been deliberate abroad, together with in London and Taiwan, this weekend.

Source: www.ft.com

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