• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 4:01am
Tiananmen Square crackdown
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Thousands of Hongkongers march in memory of June 4 on hottest day of year

3,000 marching to mark 25th anniversary face activists who say crackdown was 'reasonable'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 8:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 11:59am
 

About 3,000 people braved the hottest day of the year so far and rival protesters on a march to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which organised yesterday's event, said he was "very satisfied" with the turnout - double the 1,600 who marched last year.

But police said only 1,900 turned up, far below the 8,000 who took to the streets in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary.

Video: Thousands of Hongkongers march in memory of June 4

At 1.30pm, the temperature at the Observatory in Tsim Sha Tsui was 33.2 degrees Celsius, the hottest this year.

"Hongkongers see the June 4 vigil as more important than the march so I think they will still come out on Wednesday to remember June 4," Lee said. He predicted more than 150,000 would gather in Victoria Park.

That was the attendance a year ago when the vigil was cut short by torrential rain.

The marchers left Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 3pm yesterday and reached government headquarters in Admiralty two hours later, calling for the 1989 pro-democracy movement to be vindicated.

During the march, at Southorn Playground in Wan Chai, a war of words erupted with activists from the pro-Beijing "6.4 Truth" campaign, which argues that the crackdown in 1989 was "reasonable".

The two sides exchanged insults before police stepped in to calm things down.

Choi Suk-fong, a former journalist who witnessed the killings in Tiananmen Square, said activists who defended Beijing were "hurting the victims' families a second time".

Those calling for justice included teacher Tam Wai-pang, who brought his two-year-old daughter on the march.

"I wanted her to feel the atmosphere and I wanted to pass on the message to my next generation," Tam said.

Tam said he would also be at Wednesday's candlelight vigil.

This year the alliance has faced challenges from both sides of the political spectrum.

Independent pan-democrat lawmaker Wong Yuk-man will co-host a rally in Tsim Sha Tsui at the same time as the vigil in Victoria Park - hoping to attract 3,000 people.

Wong has derided the alliance's event as being too "ceremonial", while the alliance has hit back, saying the vigil is a "solemn ceremony".

Victor Wong Yu-cheung, a first-year history student at Chinese University, sided with the alliance. "The event has always been held at Victoria Park, so it doesn't make sense to hold something elsewhere," he said.

Wong said the debate about political reform had raised his awareness about democracy and prompted him to join the march for the first time.

As the rally ended, about 200 people, including League of Social Democrats' lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and members of student group Scholarism, marched to the central government's liaison office in Sai Wan, where police refused to admit their mock army tank.

There was a heavy police presence and protesters were only allowed to "pass by" the office gates in groups of 20 to 30.

"If you think this toy tank is dangerous, then you [police] are more immature than kindergarten students … the only thing dangerous is the Communist Party," said retired teacher Hon Lin-shan. "Police have a responsibility to serve the people."

He then asked members of Scholarism to immediately "take to Facebook" to recruit more protesters to the scene.

Repeated warnings not to throw objects over the gates were ignored by protesters as they tossed white chrysanthemums and paper "hell" money into the courtyard.

Leung, flanked by other league members, carried a blue coffin to the entrance of the office, chanting "the people will not forget".

On the other side of police lines, a crying woman argued with officers as she tried to burn joss sticks in front of the gate and make offerings for those killed in Tiananmen Square.

Video:Wang Dan: China lost legitimacy after Tiananmen

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This article is now closed to comments

Sifu_628
The only thing hotter than the temperature is emotion. I was working for a MNC in Guangzhou during the Massacre in Tiananmen Square on the predawn hours of June 4 in 1989 and can testify that there can be no justification for the brutal killings of peaceful students calling for the rule of laws in an open and just society. The cruel ruthlessness of then paramount-leader, Deng Hsiao Ping, is only matched by his political brilliance in redirecting the nation's anger to unbridled greed and materialism. We can now see clearly both the triumph and failure of his directives.
25 years of unbridled economic growth, creating an elite 2% (28 millions) who can consume 35% of the world's luxury goods and services in 2013 and an urban class of $240 millions+ with purchasing power parity rivaling those of the US but an exploited mass of nearly 1 billion (70%) living at the subsistence level - according to the World Bank as well as irreversible ecological disaster (air, water and land) nationwide. Reason or not to support the brutal crackdown of June 4, 1989 depends entirely on how one has benefited or not during the past 25 years.
dynamco
"At about 1.30pm, the temperature at the Observatory in Tsim Sha Tsui was 33.2 degrees Celsius, the hottest this year"
Get Real
The Observatory measures air temperature in the shade
The temperature in open sun is at least 5-7 degrees higher
On a work site in Tin Shui Wai this week on an asphalt surface it was 42 degrees at 8am, 50 degrees at 10.15 am & off the 55 Degree thermometer scale at 2 pm +50% humid
Read about Heat Stress Index & the effect of humidity on the 'feels like' effect on the human body/heat stroke danger
ejmciii
I do love the angry mainlanders and their suckers-off who hate that HK has free debate. One country and two systems is what your masters bought into to get the Brits to hand over HK but now they seem more focused on one nation that 2 systems, which explains the slow decline of HK compared to other cities in the region. HK folks, guess what, the Mainlanders are not working on helping you. They are focused on subjugating you.
I Gandhi
Interesting to note that the widely distributed photo of Tankman — the lone student standing before a row of army tanks and heavily publicised as showing brave defiance against a cruel regime — was in fact taken the day after Tiananmen events, and the tanks were moving away from, and not into, Tiananmen Square.
53567e31-b104-458b-a6cd-350e0a320969
According to Gregory Clark, a former Australian diplomat, the Tiananmen Massacre was a myth and the lies continues to this day.
www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/06/03/commentary/world-commentary/really-happened-tiananmen/#.U45GOJVZpjo
Demking
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of "6.4", let's occupy Tiananmen Square on June 4 again and urge CCP's authority to end the one-party authoritarianism, stop the suppression of democracy and freedom and release all the prisoners of conscience immediately.
mercedes2233
Sure. China's leaders are listening to you. I take it that you also support the previous generation of enthusiastic young people, the Red Guards? The young can do no wrong, ever?
ejmciii
Well China loves repression.
ejmciii
It's news, dopey. One thing that the Commies never forget is subjugation, subjugation, subjugation.
TigerJ
Just 3000? SCMP should stop wasting its ink.

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