The great trade unionist and member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong says: "A darkness similar to that of 1989 has fallen upon China. Beijing has launched a wave of unprecedented persecution. They are afraid of democracy and the Church's message, which is why it is essential to remain vigilant and always and only ask for the truth."
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The 4 June vigil which remembers the victims of Tiananmen Square "has three main meanings: to keep alive the memory of what happened in Beijing in 1989; to denounce the ongoing and increasingly violent repression of the Chinese regime against dissidents and human rights activists; and to remember that the meaning of the expulsion of the Qing dynasty, which occurred just a century ago, has been betrayed by the Communist Party."
Lee Cheuk-yan, one of Hong Kong’s most important unionists and a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (the small local Parliament) representing the New Territories West, told AsiaNews about the meaning of the annual Tiananmen vigil to take place at Victoria Park. He warns: "Never before has Beijing chosen to use violence against those demanding democracy and freedom like this year."
Every year, Hong Kong remembers the victims of the Tiananmen massacre, which occurred 4 June 1989. What is the meaning of this event?
Tomorrow night, in the Territory, we will have a candlelight vigil for the victims of the massacre. There are three main meanings for this event. The first is to remember: in particular the young people, of Hong Kong and China, need to know what happened on 4 June when the regime washed the call for democracy in China with blood. The second is to demonstrate against the huge wave of repression and arrests against those who defend human rights in the country. This year is one of the worst ever seen in this regard: an era of darkness seems to have fallen across the country. The situation is similar to that which followed the suppression of 1989, all free and democratic voices were silenced by violence. Just think of Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace winner, or Ai Weiwei. We want Beijing to know that we do not forget and we will remain vigilant. The third significance is historical: this year we celebrate the centenary since the revolution which expelled the Qing dynasty. The dream of our grandparents, seeing the empire overtaken by democracy, has been betrayed in the worst possible way. When we look at China, we see tremendous economic growth. But democracy and human rights are still ‘butcher’s meat.’
Do you think there is a connection between the revival of Maoist ideology in China and this new wave of repression against dissidents?
I do not think there is a direct link. In reality the situation is worse: we are witnessing the birth of a new ideology, almost worse than Maoism. The Party wants to maintain absolute control and wants to remain the only instrument of power in China: to silence the majority to keep control of business and politics. The return of Maoist ideology is characteristic of a faction of the party, but it does not apply to all. In a sense, these "new Maoists" want to rebuild their presence using the "purity" of the Long March and, in this way, cover their choices. But all the leaders together, they have chosen to use violence to stay where they are. That, to me, is worse.
In addition to the crackdown against dissidents, violence against religion has increased exceptionally in the past year. It seems that the religious persecution of the times of the cultural revolution is back. What explains this surge?
As I said before, the Party is terrified of losing power. They know that if they were to become ordinary citizens, they would have to pay for all the evil they have done and continue to do. In this sense, they can not tolerate the existence of non-political entities that have a following among the population. The Catholic Church, in particular, scares them: they use the excuse of the “external power" of the Vatican to hide their fear of the Christian message, that could potentially wipe them out. It is always just a fight for money and power: they do not even have the excuse of ideology.
The Tiananmen Mothers have reported an attempted bribe from the government. Why do you think Beijing made this decision?
I believe that the Chinese government is very concerned about the memory - still present and widespread - of what happened in 1989. With their crude attitude, think they can solve everything like they always have: with money. But the Mothers have made it clear from the beginning that they do not want material rewards: they want the truth. It is this that Beijing does not understand. Also, in my opinion, the Party wants to divide the movement and seek, through corruption, to pull out its representative. But it will not to able to do so: the Mothers have already made clear that these efforts will fall on deaf ears. We, with our vigil, also want to demonstrate that it has all the support we can give.