Participants in tonight's candlelight vigil in Victoria Park must send a united message to President Xi Jinping that Hongkongers will insist on justice over the Tiananmen Square crackdown, organiser Lee Cheuk-yan said yesterday.
His call for unity came as mainland activists complained that security measures imposed on them were more severe this year, dimming hopes that the new leadership in Beijing would reassess the June 4 tragedy.
Hong Kong journalists in Beijing were also invited to "chat" with public security officers yesterday.
Lee, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which is organising the vigil, said he hopes that at least 180,000 people will turn up at Victoria Park.
"Since Xi took office [in March], the Communist regime has tightened its grip," Lee said.
He said the vigil would "show him that Hongkongers are upset with him as new leader. That's why the turnout is important".
Hongkongers must "speak up on our common demand" - the vindication of the June 4 protesters - he said.
Some commentators earlier regarded Xi's formal election as president in March as a milestone marking the rise of a leadership arguably "uninvolved" in the crackdown decisions.
There was also speculation over whether Xi would follow in the footsteps of his late father Xi Zhongxun and embrace liberal reforms.
But Zhang Xianling, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers group, said more than 10 security guards and officers were deployed around her home in Beijing, compared with just three or four in past years. "They do not even allow my helper to get into my house," she said.
Zhang said she would still go to pay respects today to her son, Wang Nan, who died aged 19.
"We won't be threatened," she said. "We have encountered such difficulties over the past 24 years, and we are confident that we can overcome them."
Group founder Ding Zilin said she had been told she cannot go to Muxidi, near Tiananmen Square, to lay flowers for her son.
Hu Jia, who was jailed for more than three years on subversion charges, said it was normal for authorities to put him under "house arrest" around June 4, but the restriction came on May 25.
He was later allowed to go to Guangzhou on May 29 to see his daughter, but when he got off the plane he was followed by security officers. Hu originally planned to return to Beijing on June 2, but postpone this to Thursday after being warned of a "security risk".
"The officers told my parents that this year is special," he said. "Apparently, the authorities want me to be out of Beijing and don't want me to see my friends," he said. "The new Beijing leadership has just come to power and they are very eager to create an impression that China is in [a time of] peace and prosperity."
Hong Kong Journalists Association chairwoman Mak Yin-ting also criticised Xi for going against his pledge to "rule the country in accordance with the law", after Hong Kong journalists were asked to chat with public security officers. It was understood that officers spoke to TVB reporter Stella Lam Chiu-yee and her cameraman, reminding them that official approval was "necessary before reporters do their job in the capital, especially in places such as the Tiananmen Square or Muxidi, otherwise the authority will have to follow-up", she said.
Organiser Lee said: "We need to show that our discontent has grown. It is because Xi is even more authoritarian than Hu Jintao , to scare off dissent in China and in his party."
Xi is in Costa Rica for his second diplomatic trip to build up ties with Latin American nations, and observers said the leadership did not want trouble at home.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will be in Shanghai today and tomorrow to meet the city's leaders and address the opening of the Urban Land Institute's summit.
Also, members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students continued their 64-hour hunger strike outside Times Square in Causeway Bay. It was expected to end today.