06/04/2015, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA

Card. Zen: We remember "our martyrs" of Tiananmen

by Paul Wang
There is pressure to forget the past and the struggle for democracy. Ahead of the Victoria Park vigil, Msgr. Joseph He will lead a time of prayer together with Protestant Christians. The Student Federation will not officially participate in the vigil. Mounting "localism": focus on problems of Hong Kong without worrying about China.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The victims of the Tiananmen massacre are "our martyrs" and we cannot "forget" them, states Card. Joseph Zen in response to attempts to water down commemorations of the events of 4 June 1989, which has its climax in the territory in the candlelight vigil that has been held for the past 25 years  in Victoria Park.

The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, tells AsiaNews that in the days before the anniversary Masses for the dead were celebrated in many churches in the area, for the "martyrs" killed in Tiananmen Square.  He adds that before the vigil tonight, Catholics and Protestants will - as always – join in a prayer meeting, which merges with the largest gathering of Victoria Park. Msgr. Joseph Ha, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, head of Justice and Peace, will lead the prayer vigil.

"Some Catholics - continues the Cardinal - say that it is time to forget, that it is useless to dwell on the past. But those young people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom did it for us.  This is why we can never forget”.

Card. Zen has often explained that the fate of democracy in Hong Kong is linked to that of China. The territory is the only place in China where the events of Tiananmen are commemorated. Over the years, many from China have come to Hong Kong in order to take part in the demonstrations in memory of those killed. Many dissidents and Tiananmen Mothers (the association of relatives of those killed) are grateful for the vigil and all the activities that commemorate the movement of students and workers helplessly mowed down by the army and tanks.

This year, for the first time, the Federation of university students has decided not to officially take part in the vigil, organized by the "Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China", which brings together different pro- democracy groups and trade unions. Many students will participate anyway, but individually.

The attitude of the Federation has been branded as a form of "localism", the tendency to see the problems of Hong Kong separately from those of China. In this way the Federation thinks it can restrain Beijing from intervening in the political affairs of Hong Kong. The Federation is frustrated because the proposal of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive of the area was blocked by China, which has put in place a mechanism for the election of only three candidates "friends of China", rated by a committee of representatives where the majority is chosen by Beijing.

Last year the vigil brought together more than 150 thousand people (see photo).

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