(p. A8) For decades, Hong Kong was the only place in China where the victims of the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy activists at Tiananmen Square in Beijing could be publicly mourned in a candlelight vigil. This year, Hong Kong is notable for all the ways it is being made to forget the 1989 massacre.
In the days before the June 4 anniversary on Sunday, even small shops that displayed items alluding to the crackdown were closely monitored, receiving multiple visits from the police. Over the weekend, thousands of officers patrolled the streets in the Causeway Bay district, where the vigil was normally held, and set up tents where they searched people suspected of trying to mourn. They arrested four people accused of “acts with seditious intention” and one person accused of obstructing police officers. Another 27 people were detained.
Zhou Fengsuo, a student leader in the Tiananmen Square protest movement, said that Hong Kong is now under the same “despotic rule” as the mainland.
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“For us Tiananmen survivors, losing Hong Kong — this very important place that shielded history and truth — is very painful,” said Mr. Zhou, the former Tiananmen leader. After the raid and forced closing of a June 4 museum in Hong Kong in 2021, Mr. Zhou donated several Tiananmen artifacts to a newly established permanent exhibit in New York, including a bloodstained banner, a tent and a mimeograph. A section was devoted to Hong Kong.
He added that he related to the wave of Hong Kong dissidents who had left the city — to the pain of exile and their struggle to keep the movement alive while far from home. But their presence abroad was helping to keep the memory of the crackdown alive elsewhere, he said.
“On the other hand, many Hong Kongers are now passionately participating in June 4 activities around the world, increasing attendance threefold in some places,” he said. “There are now many cities that are starting to commemorate June 4 because of the arrival of Hong Kongers.”
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(Note: the online version of the story was updated June 5, 2023, and has the title “Hong Kong Remembered the Tiananmen Massacre, Until It Couldn’t.”)