06/15/2009, 00.00
HONG KONG – CHINA
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From Tiananmen to the July 1st march: youth participation on the rise

A big turnout of youth for the June 4th Hong Kong vigil, also to show that economic growth must not cloud “recognition of heritage and respect for the truth”. For the traditional July 1st pro-democracy march over 100 thousand people are anticipated, also to contest the Chief executive Tsang.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – “The young generation came [to the June 4th vigil in commemoration of the 1989 massacre], propelled by a sense of responsibility for themselves and for society”. Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, Civic Party lawmaker, underlined in a radio interview the lively participation of younger generations in the Tiananmen Square vigil, despite the fact there were not even born at the time.  Now the appointment is for the traditional July 1st March, where organisers expert 100 thousand people to attend.

In China it is forbidden to even mention June 4th 1989, only in Hong Kong remembers every year the sacrifice of thousands of young students and workers killed because they had asked for greater democracy and less corruption,  This year the organisers speak of an attendance of 150 thousand, even if police claim there were “only” 62, 800.

Eu reminded Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Chief executive of Hong Kong that “patriotism is not solely the waving of the national flag or the pursuit of economic growth, but more importantly it must include the recognition of one's heritage and respect for the truth”.

Ahead of the anniversary Tsang had advised the population not to dwell too much on the past but “objective assessment of the China's economic development since then”. On various occasions Beijing has repeated that the Tiananmen protest had to be quashed in order to ensure social stability and proceed with market reforms that made China one of the greatest economic powers in the world.  Tsang was later forced to make a public apology after his remarks sparked uproar and admit he was expressing his personal views rather than collective opinion.

Eu repeats that “young people were enraged and motivated to denounce such hypocrisy”.

This attention to politics could bring as many as 100 thousand people onto the streets for the annual July 1st march for democracy, the day in which Hong Kong commemorates its return to Chinese rule.  The march became tradition in 2003, when 500 thousand people poured onto the streets to demand that a law on security indirect violation of civil rights be blocked.  On other occasion the unresolved issue of universal suffrage was recalled, as set out in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution to allow direct election of the parliament and governor.  This year there is also the desire to protest insufficient public aid to counter the economic crisis and criticism of Tsang.

 

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