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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:21am
June 4th protests
CommentInsight & Opinion

Time to emerge from the shadow

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 June, 2013, 1:58am

Organisers do not rule out a turnout for tonight's vigil to mark the 24th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square that compares with last year's record estimate of 180,000. They have been surprised before by the response of a younger generation that has taken up the torch of remembrance, confounding expectations that interest would have peaked with the 20th anniversary four years ago.

This year, however, the lead up has been marred by division. The pan-democratic organisers appealed to Hongkongers to remain united behind the vigil after a call for a boycott by pro-autonomy activists, who objected to a slogan that embraced the mainland as well as Hong Kong. The organisers finally tried to defuse the row by not using some of the slogan's words during the vigil. It remains to be seen if the spat affects the turnout.

On the other hand, contemporary events in the mainland have once again reminded Hongkongers that the grievances and issues aired by the Tiananmen pro-democracy protesters remain relevant to young people today. This can do no harm to the turnout. Two years ago the vigil took place as the authorities launched a fresh crackdown against dissent. Last year the scandal of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai highlighted political corruption and the need for political reform. This year, according to reports, the Communist Party has just delivered a blow to hopes for reform by declaring seven topics of taboo in university teaching, including universal values, press freedom and civil rights. This may resonate with young people's ideals.

In amending the slogan by deleting the words, "Love the country, love the people …" the organisers have, arguably, acted in the spirit of those words, for the sake of unity. That is not to say the pro-autonomy line prevailed. The reality is that Hong Kong is under the control of China, but enjoys core democratic freedoms that set it apart. Indeed, for many, the vigil symbolises their care about the country and their longing for it to share democracy. That's a fundamental difference of emphasis between the organisers and the autonomy advocates.

Long may we continue the tradition of the vigil, with its underlying theme of patriotism, in the hope that China will make amends for June 4 by reversing the official verdict and bringing a measure of justice to the victims and their families. Only then can the country emerge fully from the shadow cast by a terrible chapter in its history.

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hard times !
yeah,June 4th Massacre will never be forgotten,
never !
Instead,the vindication of it and proper compensation
to the families of the victims killed by curfew troops
should be made sooner or later.
June 4th Massacre is the darkest chapter of the PRC history
since 1949.
Even in Madam Jiang Ching's era, the 4-people gang only
used batons and water cannons to drive away the protesters
gathered at the Square.
Yet Short Deng (praised by our incumbent chief executive a
great man and should be awarded the Nobel Prize of Peace) ordered
his troops to open fire at unarmed citizens and students near
the Square and in Chang An Avenue.
He treated the protesting students like what he did towards
the Kuomintang troops during the so-called Hwai Hai Campaign.
Gunned them down or rolled over them with tanks (though DAB's
late chariman,Ma Lik doubted whether a tank could crush a person
and suggested using a pig as an experiment.)
Luckily, this cold-blooded old guy has gone
to see Chairman Mao in the underworld !
See you all this evening at
Victoria Park !
Don't miss it !
See you all !
qiaohan
The more the officials try to suppress any mention of June 4, the more obvious it becomes to any reasonable person on the mainland. I hope these vigils in Victoria park become bigger and bigger as they have been every year since 1989. Eventually there will be have to be a "reassessment" instead of just continuing to sweep it under the rug. It will NEVER be forgotten.

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