Hong Kong to remember 4 June 1989, “On this, there is no doubt”

Every year, the former British colony remembers the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Hopefully, the Student Federation “will give it a second thought”, and join the vigil, says PIME regional superior. Ding Zilin, founder and soul of the Tiananmen Mothers, will not issue an open letter to the government for the first time in 27 years. The Church continues its commitment to truth and justice.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kongers "remember what happened in China on 4 June 1989. On this, there is no doubt. Maybe people may not take to the streets to avoid problems with the authorities, but even those who are pro-Beijing do not want to forget what happened in Tiananmen Square,” a Hong Kong Catholic involved in organising the memorial vigil told AsiaNews.

The vigil has been organised every year since 1990. This year, the decision made by the Students Federation not to be part of the organising committee has generated a lot of talk. Lee Cheuk-yan, a major pro-democracy leader and human rights activist, is saddened by the decision.

The student group chose to stay away because they no longer identify with the movement, and want instead to “work for Hong Kong’s full independence, like Taiwan.”

For Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus, Card Joseph Zen, a “great and long battle for freedom and democracy” is underway in Hong Kong. To achieve this goal, all social strata must be united; “unity and cooperation” are needed. Any leap of faith without thoughtful reflection is useless and unrealistic.

For Fr Giorgio Pasini, regional superior of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, "The beauty of the vigil of 4 June was the very large presence of young people. Hopefully, they’ll give it a second thought. I believe that some young people will come all the same. They pulled out of the organising committee, and that's a shame. But there is still time. "

"Young people are setting up a new party and they have even dusted off the old colonial flag,” an anonymous source told AsiaNews. “A small group is generating a broad debate; I’ll grant them that. But it is also true that they lack experience and cohesion; they could end up getting burnt or used. Beijing is known for its divide and rule.”

Hundreds of thousands of people take part in the night-time vigil on 3-4 June at Victoria Park. Led by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, they remind mainland Chinese leaders of their political and legal responsibility in the massacre of students and workers in 1989, and want them to change their historic view of them.

As a major player, the local Catholic Church continues to work on behalf of truth and justice. Various memorial Masses are held before the vigil, preceded by gatherings in which participants reflect upon China and its path towards democracy. Card Zen is often involved in prayers before the rally in Victoria Park.

Every year, as the anniversary approaches, Ding Zilin, 79, founder and soul of the Tiananmen Mothers issues an open letter to the government, asking for acknowledgement of its errors. This year, she said that she would not be able to deliver her traditional message.

The group she created brings together parents and relatives of the hundreds of young people who died. This year, some of its members will take on the task of writing the open letter, following the principles “Ding laid down at the start of this adventure.”