Thursday, April 24, 2014   




Candles for 10 years of tears

Cheung Chi-fai

Saturday, June 05, 1999

In Hong Kong, a crowd of 70,000 proves the `hearts of its people have

not died'

Cheung Chi-fai

M

ORE than 70,000 people streamed into Victoria Park last night for a

mammoth candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who died in the June

4, 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

It was the largest turnout since 1992 when 80,000 marked the event.

The rally in Hong Kong contrasted with the situation on the mainland,

where public displays of grief were almost non-existent, amid tight

security for the sensitive tenth anniversary.

Tiananmen Square itself was empty except for workmen repairing

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pavements as police kept a tight watch.

In Macau, which reverts to Chinese rule from Portuguese administration

in December, a crowd of about 300 people turned out, with one

protester saying they would continue marking the event after the

handover even if it was forbidden by Beijing.

In Hong Kong, the police refused to give an official figure for the

attendance last night saying it was only for "operational use".

Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of

China chairman Szeto Wah said the high turnout showed that the

"hearts of Hong Kong people have not died".

"We should appreciate that many people still come even in times of

economic hardship. I think Hong Kong people should be proud of that,"

he said.

The vigil started at 8 pm with a simple dance and song performance

recalling the history of the events in both Beijing and Hong Kong 10

years ago.

It was followed by a video show screening episodes of the crackdown

and the student demonstration in Tiananmen Square.

Many burst into tears when they saw scenes of the shooting and people

blocking the tanks with their bodies. The alliance core members also

sent wreaths to a statue memorialising the martyrs and a teenage boy

returned from the statue to the stage with a torch to symbolise the

fight for a democratic China.

After a one-minute silence to mourn the dead, the alliance

successfully connected telephone lines to dissident Wang Dan in Boston

and his mother Wang Lingyun in Beijing.

Mrs Wang said the telephone service at her home had been cut off and

it was difficult to get connected.

She urged the younger generation in Hong Kong to equip themselves well

and cultivate a sense of responsibility to society and a sense of

mission for history.

"The greatest expectation of the people is that they could speak what

they want to speak," she said.

She also encouraged local parents to support and respect their

children who were involved in a social movement, if they believed it

was for justice.

Wang Dan said the democracy movement in 1989 was a landmark for

contemporary Chinese society and those who had died should not be

forgotten. "We should never forget that the young people had

sacrificed their lives and blood to pave the way for the future of

China," he said. However, attempts failed to secure a phone hook-up

in Beijing with retired professor Ding Zilin, whose son was killed in

the crackdown. Ms Ding has filed a writ with the Beijing court to seek

justice.

The Victoria Park vigil ended with a declaration by the alliance to

continue its fight for democracy.

As the crowd dispersed the chanting of slogans such as "Continue

fighting" and "End the one-party rule", interspersed with the

singing of patriotic songs, rent the night air.

More reports: Pages 4 & 5

Editorial: Page 10

Rule of law: Page 11

Picture memories:

Life Page 1

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END


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