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June 4 vigil in Hong Kong

Hong Kong June 4 activists call for end to ‘one-party dictatorship’ in China – using kites to get message out

About a dozen members of group that organises annual vigil in Hong Kong held small ceremony at Clear Water Bay Country Park

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2018, 9:06pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2018, 10:44pm

A kite with a slogan calling for an end to “one-party dictatorship” in China flew over Hong Kong’s Sai Kung district as pro-democracy activists held a ceremony on Sunday ahead of the annual June 4 vigil.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which has been organising the annual vigil to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown since 1990, said it was expecting a crowd similar in size to last year’s event.

The vigil remains the only large-scale public commemoration of the June 4 crackdown on Chinese soil.

About a dozen members of the alliance held a small ceremony at Clear Water Bay Country Park in Sai Kung on Sunday afternoon.

They flew two kites with slogans. One slogan called on the public to commemorate the June 4 crackdown and fight authoritarian rule while the other read “End one-party dictatorship”.

The alliance explained that student activists who gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing during the 1989 pro-democracy movement had also flown kites to distract military helicopters.

Hong Kong democracy activists in call to ‘end one-party dictatorship’ at June 4 ceremony despite earlier warning

Alliance secretary Lee Cheuk-yan said he expected more than 100,000 people to attend the vigil.

“As the slogan ‘end one-party dictatorship’ has became a [proposed] reason to disqualify election candidates … more citizens will be stimulated to come out,” Lee said.

Organisers estimated 110,000 attended last year’s vigil, the lowest turnout since 2008. A number of university student unions boycotted the event, saying the vigil had become ritualistic.

Lee said he understood that some student unions may have wanted to express their identity by cutting ties with the vigil and the alliance but that such moves could ease the pressure on the Chinese government to vindicate the June 4 protests.

This year’s June 4 vigil is scheduled for 8pm at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.