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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 4:07pm
Tiananmen Square crackdown
NewsHong Kong
JUNE 4

Sea of lights as ‘record crowd’ marks 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown

Record crowd claimed as Hong Kong commemorates 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown with calls for democracy and candles held high

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 6:11pm

Victoria Park became a galaxy of candlelight last night with what was claimed to be a record crowd marking the 25th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown.

Conflict within the ranks of the democracy movement led to radicals holding an alternative rally in Tsim Sha Tsui.

But the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China put the number in Victoria Park at more than 180,000, well up from the 150,000 reported last year.

Watch: Hong Kong hosts China's largest -- and only -- 25th anniversary Tiananmen remembrance rally

Police put the turnout at 99,500, compared with 54,000 last year. The previous biggest turnout reported by the alliance was 180,000 in 2012.

Even as the commemoration started at 8pm, thousands of people were waiting to get into the park, with the queue stretching all the way to the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay.

Many travelled from the mainland to join the vigil, with Hong Kong - and its neighbouring Macau - the only places on Chinese soil where people can observe the anniversary in public and on such a large scale.

"Let's show our sea of lights to [President] Xi Jinping ! Fight until the end!" said alliance chairman Lee Cheuk-yan.

Let's show our sea of lights to [President] Xi Jinping ! Fight until the end!
Alliance chairman, Lee Cheuk-yan

In contrast, Beijing was eerily quiet. Tiananmen Square and other key locations were heavily guarded by police. Only a few family members of four of the victims killed in the 1989 crackdown were allowed to visit the Wanan Cemetery where their loved ones were buried. They were closely watched by security officers.

Zhang Xianling, a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers group, said she alone was watched by at least 20 plain-clothes officers. "This shows the authorities still lack the courage to face the grievous mistake they made 25 years ago," she said.

In Hong Kong, video messages from eight exiled dissidents, including Wang Dan, Wuer Kaixi, Yan Jiaqi and Wang Juntao, were broadcast. Wang Dan said the desire for democracy lived on.

"We will certainly see the dawn of the victory if we continue to persevere," he said.

Teng Biao, a mainland civil rights lawyer, said: "I hope one day Chinese citizens will have the freedom of protest, which is a right protected by the Chinese constitution, as well as a basic human right.

"However, many human rights activists … have sacrificed their freedom trying to pursue this right. Some have even lost their lives for it."

At the close of the gathering, the alliance called on participants to join the annual July 1 pro-democracy march.

The Federation of Students protested outside the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong after the vigil.

Radical pan-democratic lawmaker Wong Yuk-man's Proletariat Political Institute and online media platform Passion Times jointly held an alternative vigil in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Organisers put the turnout at about 7,000 - much higher than they had expected - but police said the figure was nearer 3,000. Pro-Beijing group Voice of Loving Hong Kong staged its own rally - attended by about 20 people - right next to the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. It screened a video purportedly showing that "nobody died at Tiananmen Square".

Police stepped in to keep the group and some members of the huge crowd apart, although there were scuffles.

Watch: Groups clash with pro-Beijing group ahead of Hong Kong's June 4 vigil; one arrested

Earlier in the day, government-friendly lawmakers walked out of the Legislative Council as pan-democrats observed a minute's silence, after Lee Cheuk-yan's request for formal mourning was rejected by Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

Yesterday in Macau, over 2,000 people gathered at Senado Square to commemorate those who lost their lives in the crackdown, the Macau Daily Times reported.

Gary Cheung, Tanna Chong, Tony Cheung, Jeffie Lam, Johnny Tam and Minnie Chan

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321manu
"This shows the authorities still lack the courage to face the grievous mistake they made 25 years ago,"
----wiser words have ne'er been said. It is human nature to run and hide when you have something to hide, and this describes the CCP precisely. Of course, those with adequate character will stand up and face the music, but I would never count on that coming from the CCP.
"Pro-Beijing group Voice of Loving Hong Kong staged its own rally - attended by about 20 people"
---so cute! Gosh, I sure hope some of the CCP sympathisers on this board hung out with their friends...they must've felt so lonely!
chaz_hen
Police, using their newest hi tech "Crowd Guesstimator 689", estimated the crowd at roughly around 168 people...
chaz_hen
"Earlier in the day, government-friendly lawmakers walked out of the Legislative Council as pan-democrats observed a minute's silence, after Lee Cheuk-yan's request for formal mourning was rejected by Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing."
These are the so-called "patriots"?? Walking out on a mere remembrance of the indisputable history of a mass murder of Chinese by the Chinese entrusted to protect the PEOPLE in the name of preserving a system of crony corruption?
Jasper Tsang and all that walked out should be pelted by bananas in public for the rest of their worthless lives! They have shown by this act that they too would do nothing for the People and would order mass murder of the People if they ever found themselves in a similar situation.
sipsip1238
The amount of effort and resources that China puts into silencing and hiding history can definitely be better spent, maybe to help the poor?
What I don't really understand is what is the difference between China hiding this and Japan denying the Nanking incidents, the numbers might be different, but people were still wrongfully murdered.
Admitting is the first step of moving forward, if China actually acknowledges the incident, we can move forward and grow, otherwise, we've been stuck for 25years and will continue to be stuck.
Oddest of all is, there are always pro-beijing groups that comes out in opposition of the rallies, what are they trying to achieve or gain, do they not know that whatever they do, none of the PRC members care, and there is nothing for them to gain if they think that yelling at a protest is going to reap them personal brownie points.
538fbefe-23bc-427f-b2b5-34f10a320969
Check the English Macau Daily Times, where it is reported that a vigil occurs every year in Macau. Nowhere as big as in Hong Kong, but very significant nevertheless. Apparently though the main local Chinese paper, the Macau Daily News, carries no news of the event of last night. Anyway, it is incorrect to say that Hong Kong is the "the only place on Chinese soil where people can observe the anniversary in public".
hard times !
yeah, let President Xi and his right-handed men see the sea of candles lit at our Victoria Park to commemorate the massacred on June 4th early hours in 1989 for the pursuit of democracy in Mainland China and anti-corruption ! 25 years have passed, yet Mainland China remains an autocratic nation which denies her people (most citizens) the human rights, democracy, liberty and rule of law.Now even our beloved Hongkong is denied a geniune universal suffrage in 2017 in the election of our chief executive and corruption cases related to big shots have risen sharply since 1997--the Handover of British rule to Chinese communist rule.
ejmciii
Well at least accurate as defined by the Ministry of Propaganda. Sorry that you do not like a free and open debate. Two systems, one nation. This system allows free debate. Personally, I am sickened by the mainland minions seeking to quell our freedom. There seems to be plenty of information out there that disagrees with the official reports. I know you are not allowed to believe it but it is pretty compelling to those not forced to believe the word of the almighty Communist Party.
ejmciii
Yet US has debated the topic openly and Kent State has been deemed to have been a terrible overreaction by the government. Heck, Neil Young wrote a best selling song about it that still is an anthem for fighting government oppression. Now, how does the Chinese treatment of Tienanmen compare? They deny it. They repress the discussion. They seek to stop HK people from discussing the issue. Yeah, identical treatment. If you were not so pathetic, you'd be amusing.
chuchu59
Well said! We condemn Japan for their WW crimes and their denial of the 'rape of Nanking' yet we are not being honest in admitting our own faults with regard to the Tiananmen crackdown/massacre whatever they care to call it. Yes, it may be regarded as a blemish on China's face but as an emerging superpower we need to pluck up our courage and admit at least to making a poor call at that point in time. We may cite that tensions were stoked to such a level that a revolution could erupt anytime so tough measures were required but we musnt try to hide facts and distort them as if nothing had happened. I loathe people who try to pluck something out of thin air and present them as facts. As a big country, we need to have a clear conscience and continuous denial is not what we need.
Demking
First, express my great respect to all of you, democracy- and freedom-loving people! Wherever once ruled by CCP, it became authoritarianism very quick. After return, Hong Kong's democracy has been downward for the past 19 years. We need solidarity to abolish the one-party regime of China and realize the real democracy for the whole China. Democracy, justice and human rights are the common goods. Let's take actions and fight shoulder to shoulder then share the achievement of democracy and freedom in the near future.

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