Rally badges 'too political' for shops to get involved
Rally organisers said that funding the event had become increasingly difficult because businesses were reluctant to lend support.
Music chain store HMV refused to distribute badges promoting the event, saying it was 'too political'.
Cheung Man-kwong, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, said his group faced increasing difficulties in getting commercial support.
'We were given free sound equipment in 1989 or 1990. We have had to rent the sets and pay for the services since then,' he said.
'To make sure we'll continue to have the supply of equipment we need, we decided to buy our own audio sets this year and reached a deal with a company to provide free services,' Mr Cheung said.
HMV could not be reached for comment.
Mr Cheung expects the cost of the candlelight vigil to exceed $200,000.
The expense of setting up the stage had risen 20 per cent compared with last year.
The alliance had about $3 million in its reserves on April 30 this year.
Five people who manufactured commemorative badges for the vigil said that they faced similar difficulties.
The five produced 40,000 badges on the mainland months ago to avoid tight Customs checks when shipping the badges to Hong Kong.
Free distribution began at various local retail shops last month.
The remaining 25,000 stock were cleared 15 minutes after the start of the rally.
One of the five, who gave his name as Ho, said: 'People can still wear them to commemorate June 4 even if there is no rally in future years.' This year's badge was conceived by a Hong Kong design house which also provided the manufacturer.
'We do not have direct contact with the mainland factory but we were told there are supporting voices in China,' Mr Ho said.
The badges carried lettering in English proclaiming two non-existent Web sites.
'The Web site idea was used to remind people that even if we cannot organise rallies in future, we can make use of modern technology to freely express our views,' Mr Ho said.
The five people who met each other at the June 4 rally in 1995 and 1996 are a social worker, a police officer, a graphic designer and two in the publishing and television industries.