Like every June 4 over the past seven years, Victoria Park tonight will be lit up by thousands of candles as Hong Kong residents commemorate the pro-democracy movement in China. This year, Hong Kong people ask: will this be the last candlelight vigil? Will the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government ban all June 4 memorial activities after the handover? They are concerned because they are afraid that the SAR leadership will follow Beijing's wish by censuring dissent. The worry is confirmed by last week's survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The opinion poll found that while about half of the respondents were confident the June 4 memorial activities will be allowed after the handover, a high percentage, about 34 per cent, thought otherwise. Optimists may say that those who cast doubts are being too cynical or defeatist. They say Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa has promised that lawful and peaceful assemblies and demonstrations will be permitted after July 1. But what worries many local residents is that they can detect that June 4 is still very much a taboo subject for the Chinese leadership. Mr Tung might appear to be open-minded on future June 4 demonstrations, but what he meant by lawful and peaceful demonstrations could still be open to interpretation. And his rather evasive reply on whether he met members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China adds to the doubt. If he felt sensitive about talking about the alliance, what does that imply about the pro-democracy group's future? The conspicuous absence of members of the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) from the legislature's debate on June 4 reinforced people's suspicion. For the community, June 4 is a historical fact that no one can wipe out. DAB legislators might find it politically incorrect to take part in a debate calling for the vindication of the 1989 pro-democracy movement. And they may be afraid of making known their views today. But Hong Kong people are not scared. The HKU survey showed that with less than a month left before the territory reverts to Chinese rule, about half of the respondents support the vindication of the 1989 movement. And people's backing for the alliance headed by legislator Szeto Wah has not diminished with time. For many Hong Kong people, the annual Sunday march and candlelight vigil at Victoria Park have become part of their lives. Yes, not all Hong Kong residents have participated in the demonstrations, but that does not necessarily mean that they do not care. And yes, many more people's passion for June 4 has gradually faded away, but that does not mean that they have forgotten the tragic events in 1989. On Monday, Mr Tung advised Hong Kong people to put behind the June 4 baggage and focus on the reunification with China. And he called on people to focus on a smooth transition. This open appeal only reflected Mr Tung's misunderstanding about the June 4 memorial activities. The annual commemoration and a smooth handover are not mutually exclusive. Why did people from all walks of life take part in the rallies and marches? Were they trying to subvert China? Of course not. They were urging the Chinese leadership to face up to the reality of June 4. Time heals all wounds but time has not healed this one. Mr Tung may disagree with the direction of the alliance and have a different view of June 4, but they should not be the reasons for suppressing the alliance.