Tiananmen Square crackdown

Boy band dedicates song to June 4 student victims in bid to grab attention of Hong Kong youngsters

Boy’z Reborn will play their song at Sunday’s candlelight vigil at a time when younger generation is turning away from mainland Chinese issues

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 5:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 8:40pm

A Hong Kong schoolboy band has dedicated a new song to students who died in the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown 28 years ago, sharing their belief in democracy and freedom even though the killings took place well before their time.

Band members say they want their music to grab the attention of the younger generation.

The nine Form Five students from Boy’z Reborn have been rehearsing The Freedom Song ahead of their performance at the annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park on Sunday.

The band will be the only young group to take to the stage at the vigil, organised by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China each year to call for the vindication of the 1989 movement.

Student unions from all the city’s universities have decided not to take part in the vigil this year amid rising localism and alienation from mainland China.

“If you say the meaning is to overthrow the Communist Party or seek an apology from the authorities, [memorial events are] meaningless,” band vocalist Ian Tang said. “But I believe the meaning is far deeper. It’s about creating cohesion and reminding Hongkongers that we must safeguard our core values like democracy and freedom.”

Although they were born a decade after the bloody crackdown, the band members said they shared feelings about the event not just from past news reports, but also from their personal experiences during the Occupy movement in 2014.

“We all shared a belief in fighting for a better society,” Tang said.

June 4 veteran offers advice to HK students: build bridges, not walls

The band composed a song after the police fired tear gas at Occupy protesters, expressing support and encouragement for participants in the pro-democracy movement.

In the June 4 song, the band tries to connect the Beijing students with Hongkongers through the following lyrics: “Thank you for showing the beauty of genuine hearts, which make me stand firm and hold on.”