Shenzhen University bans students from 'black shirt' campaign on June 4 eve

University on edge, forbidding students from wearing Tiananmen 'mourning clothes' ahead of June 4 anniversary

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 June, 2013, 1:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 June, 2013, 1:56pm

As Hong Kong prepares to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown, authorities in neighbouring Guangdong province are beginning to get shifty about domestic dissenters.  

“Black shirt” campaigns to mourn victims of the June 4, 1989, event are being pre-emptively suppressed on university campuses, China Digital Times (CDT) reported on Monday. The campaign, which began in Hong Kong last year, involves people dressing in black attire to mourn victims who were killed in Beijing in the government crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests 24 years ago.

Twitter user @64_black_shirt posted a Shenzhen University memo sent out to campus faculty and staff on Friday. It warned them “not to go to Hong Kong” and to be alert for any “situations” that would need to be “handled”.

“The international reactionary organisation has recently launched a 'mourning clothes' movement. The university must carry out stability maintenance work especially well, unconditionally obeying school plans," the CDT quoted the memo as saying.

"There must be no reactionary speech, [online] forum discussions or demonstrations.” 

The note said the school would clamp down on any sign of protest on and off campus, including in departments, dormitories and cafeterias.

Guangdong is seen by many as relatively freer than the rest of the mainland, because of its more liberal media, proximity to Hong Kong and history of being one of the country’s first special economic zones spearheaded by Deng Xiaoping.

Last year, the June 4 candlelight vigil at Hong Kong's Victoria Park saw its highest turnout ever. Organisers, who placed the headcount at 180,000, are expecting a record turnout at this year's event.