Carrying statues of the Goddess of Democracy, the rally backed the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which organised the event. The statues were returned by police after people protested against their seizure a few days ago.
Before the rally, 700 Catholics gathered at the park to pray, whose theme was, “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” (Matthew, 5:10)
Three Catholic youths, in their 20s, told AsiaNews that faith gives them hope so that they can demand the truth of what happened on 4 June. They remember Beijing students’ sufferings, not out of hatred and revenge, but in order to bear witness to the sacrifices they made—as Jesus did on the Cross—for freedom, democracy and human dignity.
Michelle Siu, a young teacher and a member of the Justice and Peace Commission, said she had paid tribute in 2004 to graves of three youths, who were killed on 3 and 4 June, 1989. All three are buried in Babao Shan cemetery, in suburban Beijing. They were 36-year-old civil servant Yin Jing, 20 –year-old student Wu Xiangdong, and Sun Tie, 26, a bank employee.
“When I was a child, my parents took me to the marches on June 4. I still recall slogans shouting ‘Blood for blood’. I got inspired by my secondary teachers who explained to us the June 4 incident, and now I am sharing it with my students.”
“Today, we are not demanding a reprisal, but a vindication of the movement and its truth,” she noted.
Jacky Liu, 21, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, said that starting in mid-May, Catholic students in various colleges and universities have organised prayer meetings and sharing for students to reflect on 4 June incident.
Born in July 1989, a month after the massacre, Liu said he got involved in 4 June commemorative events after he entered university.
“Life is given by God. The lives of all students and supporters in the 1989 event were precious and should not have been denied,” he said.
The Beijing students have inspired him. They wanted to change society and rid it of injustice and corruption. “Youths have a responsibility to carry on telling the truth and build a better society,” he noted.
Bosco Wong, 25, began to be concerned about the democracy movement in China after joining Catholic activities in university in 2005. He remembered one activity challenged him to think hard on “what if there is no freedom” and that motivated him to find out more about the pro-democratic movement in China.
“The 1989 students in Tiananmen Square wanted the universal values of freedom and democracy, just like our Christian values. But more, in faith, we understand how precious life and human dignity are, and why there is no reason for killings and suppressions.”
“The June 4 incident is not over. As long as it is not vindicated, we will continue and spread the message to younger generations,” he noted.