06/05/2020, 10.30
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Lee Cheuk-yan: The June 4th vigil is tied to the future of Hong Kong

by Paul Wang

Thousands of people poured into Victoria Park, contravening the police ordinance that had prohibited rallies with over eight people for "health" reasons. Many young people who in recent years considered the vigil a useless ritual also attended. In addition to Victoria Park, there were gatherings in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sai Ying Pun, Sai Kung and Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Kwun Tong, Tsing Yi, Tai Wai and Sha Tin. The police were on the sidelines without intervening. Clashes in Mong Kok. The auxiliary bishop Msgr. Joseph Ha celebrated mass for the dead in Tiananmen in the Holy Cross church.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The June 4 vigil - which was held yesterday despite the authorities’ ban - does not only concern the past, the memory of the Tiananmen massacre, but is linked to the future of Hong Kong and the struggle for democracy in the territory, said Lee Cheuk-yan, president of the Alliance in support of the patriotic and democratic movements of China.

Lee, who has been the organizer of the vigil for 31 years, was interviewed by Rthk this morning, and he noted that "people experienced the event not only to mourn and remember what happened on June 4, 1989, but also to think about the future of Hong Kong".

The vigil last night took place a few days after the decision of the Chinese parliament to pass a national security law to be imposed on the population of Hong Kong, after almost a year of demonstrations against an extradition law - later set aside - which have become a movement for the full democracy of the territory. Just as in many parts of the city people gathered for the vigil, at the Legco (the local parliament) a law was passed that imposes fines and prison terms for anyone who offends and distorts the Chinese national anthem.

For Lee Cheuk-yan, the link between the two events is clear: "the 1989 democratic movement, the security law that arrives in Hong Kong and last year's protest movement that was severely and brutally suppressed by the police of Hong Kong".

For several years, groups of young people and students had drifted away from the Victoria Park vigil, saying it was an unnecessary ritual and that organizers should focus more on the situation in Hong Kong instead of worrying about promoting freedom on the continent. But for Lee, the fact that many young people attended the vigil in the park en masse this year, and that many others observed the vigil in many parts of the city, is a sign of a renewed unity of purpose in the call for democracy in China and democracy in Hong Kong.

Thousands of people poured into Victoria Park last night to attend the traditional candlelight vigil. Participants challenged the police ban, motivated by "health" reasons, that is, to curb the spread of the pandemic. In groups of eight - the maximum allowed by the ordinances - young people, schoolchildren and adults took their places in the park. Police had warned that it would deploy at least 3,000 riot police to prevent the rally. But officers did not intervene, preferring to remain on the margins.

There were some clashes with police in Mong Kok, when a group of demonstrators tried to block Argyle Street. In all other parts the vigil took place in a very peaceful way with the lighting of candles, songs, slogans, silence. In addition to the traditional gathering place in Victoria Park, there were celebrations in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sai Ying Pun, Sai Kung and Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Kwun Tong, Tsing Yi, Tai Wai and Sha Tin.

In seven local churches, Catholics participated in liturgical celebrations in memory of the dead of Tiananmen (Holy Cross Church, St Bonaventure Church, St Francis of Assisi Church, Holy Redeemer Church, Saints Cosmas and Damian Church, St Benedict Church, St Andrew's Church). The masses were prepared by the diocesan commission of justice and peace. Yesterday evening, the auxiliary bishop of the diocese, Msgr. Joseph Ha presided over 

 

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