Kites flown in Hong Kong to remember the Tiananmen Square massacre

Activists call for the end of the "one-party dictatorship". Hong Kong is the only place in China where the massacre is remembered on a large-scale. But over the years student participation has decline.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hong Kong activists yesterday held a rally ahead of the vigil to remember the victims of Tiananmen Square.

About a dozen members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China gathered Sunday afternoon at the Clear Water Bay Country Park in Sai Kun and flew two kites.

Each kite carried a pro-democracy slogan. One called on the public to commemorate the 4 June crackdown and fight authoritarian rule whilst the other read “End one-party dictatorship”.

The choice of kites was not a whim. Student activists who gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing during the 1989 pro-democracy movement had also flown kites to distract military helicopters.

Hong Kong is the only place in China where activists can mark the events of June 1989, when Chinese tanks crushed the crowd demanding democracy.

In the rest of the country, the Tiananmen Square affair is subject to strict censorship. On the night of 3 and 4 June, Chinese soldiers killed more than 2,600 people.

The pro-democracy group has been organising the annual vigil to mark the crackdown since 1990. It said it was expecting a crowd similar in size to last year’s event when 110,000 people showed up.

However, the number of participants has declined in recent years. Last year's was the lowest turnout since 2008. Some university students boycotted the vigil saying it had become ritualistic.

Alliance secretary Lee Cheuk-yan said he understood that some student unions may have wanted to express their identity by cutting ties with the vigil and the alliance but that such moves could ease the pressure on the Chinese government to vindicate the 4 June protests.

This year’s 4 June vigil is scheduled for 8 pm at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.