June 4th protests

Hong Kong leader CY Leung tells young people to ‘reflect’ on their Chinese identity amid June 4 controversy

Chief executive responds to question on Chinese University student statement saying time to commemorate Tiananmen crackdown has ‘come to an end’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 11:35am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 7:45pm

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has urged the city’s young people to reflect on their Chinese identity after being asked to comment on a university student union’s statement that the time to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown had “come to an end”.

Leung, whose five-year term will end on June 30, was one of the city’s many professionals who publicly condemned Beijing for the military suppression of the student-led pro-democracy movement at the heart of the capital on June 4, 1989.

However, he has been reluctant to comment on the incident in recent years, especially after he was elected to the city’s top post in 2012.

On Sunday, the Chinese University student union issued a controversial statement saying that the time to commemorate June 4 had “come to an end”, hours before tens of thousands of Hongkongers gathered to mark the anniversary at the annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. Organisers said a total of 110,000 people attended, the lowest official count since 2008.

When asked before the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday morning whether he agreed with the statement, Leung said: “The young students who said they would not mourn June 4 because of [issues with] their Chinese identity … can reflect on the following.

“Hong Kong is part of China; the majority of Hong Kong residents and university students are members of the Chinese nation – no matter what they think of themselves, people in society and the international community would treat them as Chinese.”

“On issues of our nation’s development, every Hong Kong person and every member of the Chinese nation should actively contribute to different aspects of it,” Leung continued.

He added that since there was freedom of expression in Hong Kong, everyone was entitled to express their different views as long as he or she did so through legal means.