Diplomats voice HK hopes in anniversary messages

Top News | Amy Nip 5 Jun 2020

Foreign consulates and diplomats yesterday underlined the importance of commemorating June 4 in Hong Kong, whose future remains uncertain amid Beijing's imposition of new national security legislation.

Hong Kong and Macau have a long tradition of commemorating the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, and they are a strong signal that key freedoms continue to be protected in the two SARs, said spokeswoman for European Union foreign affairs and security policy, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, yesterday.

Regarding the ban on this year's vigil, she said: "We trust that the people of Hong Kong and Macau will nevertheless be free to mark the anniversary appropriately. A clear commitment to fully respecting guaranteed rights and freedoms is now more important than ever," she said through the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau's Facebook.

Several other consulates also commemorated the anniversary on social media.

The Canadian consulate said on Facebook: "For the past 30 years, Hong Kong is a place where people have gathered to keep alive the memory of the violent crackdown against unarmed and peaceful citizens in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989. Today we share this remembrance with Hongkongers, together in support of human rights and democracy."

The Australian consulate shared similar sentiments: "On this day, and every day, we stand for freedom of speech, expression, association and citizen rights to political participation."

The US consulate shared a picture of secretary of state Mike Pompeo meeting participants of the 1989 democracy movement on Tuesday.

"Thirty-one years later, the total number of missing or dead Tiananmen protesters is still unknown We reiterate our call for a full, public accounting of those killed or missing," state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus wrote.

Participant Wang Dan said he proposed that in reaching future trade deals, the United States should ask China to improve human rights and remove internet censorship.

"The United States should help Chinese people know more about historical truths in events including June 4," said the US-based Wang.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen also took the chance to voice her support for Hong Kong.

"Around the world, there are 365 days in a year. Yet in China, one of those days is purposely forgotten each year," she tweeted, along with the hashtag "free Taiwan supports the freedom of Hong Kong."

Separately, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News the United Kingdom is prepared to sacrifice a free trade deal with China to protect the people of Hong Kong.

The deal would not get in the way when it comes to the issue of Hong Kong due to a matter of principle, moral standard and international standing, Raab said.

amy.nip@singtaonewscorp.com

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