Tiananmen Massacre Anniversary: ​​Hong Kongers Remember “35th of May” 1989

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Written By Maya Cantina

On the 35th anniversary of the suppression of the Chinese democracy movement, commemoration has long been banned in Hong Kong. But there is resistance.

Arrest of a person by uniformed officers.

Artist Samni Chen was arrested in Hong Kong on June 3 Photo: Chan Long Hei/ap

BERLIN taz | Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square was reportedly inaccessible on Tuesday afternoon, even with the now mandatory visitor ticket. Hours earlier, the square popular with tourists, where the so-called Tian’anmen massacre took place during the violent suppression of the peaceful democracy movement that lasted several weeks on June 4, 1989, was still accessible after strict controls.

However, on this sensitive date, security measures had been greatly increased in the area where an estimated several hundred people were killed by the army 35 years ago. Throughout mainland China, there was nothing to remind us of the violence of the time, which Beijing largely erased from the public’s consciousness.

At a news conference held by China’s Foreign Ministry, spokeswoman Mao Ning, asked about the massacre, criticized what the government saw as the interference of other states. “The Chinese government had a clear conclusion early on about the political unrest that took place in the late 1980s,” she said, according to dpa, without commenting on the events themselves. Beijing has always refused to use this as an excuse to attack China and interfere in its internal affairs.

In Hong Kong, which has been part of China again as a special administrative region since 1997, June 4 has always been used since 1989 to mobilize the democracy movement there. On that day, tens of thousands of people always commemorated the dead in Victoria Park with candles.

Hong Kong now commemorates ‘hatred against central government’

Since the Hong Kong government introduced the national security law in 2020 under pressure from China, this is no longer allowed. The always peaceful commemoration is now considered ‘hatred against the central government’. Eight activists suspected of planning a public memorial have already been arrested in recent days. The government itself blocked the park with a food festival and secured it with a large contingent of police in the entire neighboring district, as the web portal says Hong Kong’s Free Press documented.

Performance artist Sanmu Chen was arrested in the Causeway Bay shopping district on Monday evening. He had drawn the date ‘8964’ in the air with one hand, simulating spilled blood. He was later released without conditions, police said.

Hong Kong police said this this weekend South China morning mail already registered visitors to the Hunter bookstore and thus unintentionally advertised the campaign. Hunter had his window decorated with a large “35/5.” The “35. May means June 4 and was used years ago by activists in China to circumvent internet censorship. The store now also offered candles for “HK$6.4”.

Taiwan’s new Beijing-critical President Lai Ching-te, whose election the Chinese regime sees as a provocation, vowed on Facebook on Tuesday: “The memory of June 4 will not disappear into the maelstrom of history and we will continue to work hard to ensure that historical commemoration is kept alive.”

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