06/03/2016, 19.40
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Hong Kong expects a 100,000 people to Tiananmen vigil

Lee Cheuk-yan, secretary of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, predicts as many people to take part in the vigil. Beforehand, Card Zen and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha will lead a moment of prayer for Catholics. More and more Hong Kongers believe that it is their duty to fight for democracy in mainland China.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Over 100,000 people will take part in the annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown on 4 June, this according to Lee Cheuk-yan, secretary of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

Speaking about last week’s rally, Lee said the number of people – 1,500 – could not be used to predict how many would show up at the vigil, as the two events were different.

A Catholic source told AsiaNews that the low turnout “means very little. It was pouring rain, and for most people what counts is the Victoria Park vigil.”

Tomorrow’s rally will be held at 8 pm. Following established practice for 27 years, Catholics will gather at 7 pm to pray. Card Joseph Zen, Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus, and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing will address the gathering. Until then, memorial Masses will be celebrated for the victims of the massacre in the churches of the former British colony.

This year, the decision of the Student Federation, one of the most active pro-democracy movement, not to take part in the rally’s organisation has proven controversial. For the students, fighting for democracy in mainland China is futile; instead, they want to carry on a separate battle for Hong Kong’s independence.

Speaking on a radio programme, Lee said that the students’ decision will be duly noticed but Hong Kongers’ participation in the 1989 pro-democracy movement on the mainland was an important part of local history as well as Hong Kong identity.

A recent survey by Hong Kong 01 shows that the pro-democracy movement has the support of the population, especially among young people between 18 and 29, who believe that Hong Kong must get Beijing to admit its responsibility in the massacre,

For 78 per cent of respondents, it is "necessary and important" to make that acknowledgment.

Among 18-to-29, 68.2 per cent said that it is also their duty to see China become democratic.

Among all respondents, only 32 per cent believe that in the next three years, the human rights situation in the country will improve.

Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Hong Kongers held a grim view on human rights prospects in the mainland because of its “tough and disappointing” policies.

“Since President Xi Jinping took office, many people believe that China has been backsliding on human rights . . . especially after it made a law on internet safety and amended its national security law,” Lau said.

Indeed, the frequent use of large protest banners in symbolic places at sensitive moments highlights Hong Kongers’ disappointment with Chinese rule. 

After Beijing’s third most important leader Zhang Dejiang was recently welcomed in Hong Kong in such a way, a white banner bearing the words “Never Forget June 4, See You in Victoria Park” appeared on a slope in Kowloon on Friday morning. Within an hour, firefighters had it removed.

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