05/15/2024, 18.12
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Online prayer in Hong Kong to break the silence 35 years after Tiananmen

While the anniversary of the massacre of the students in Beijing will not take place on 4 June in Victoria Park, a group of individual Christians is calling on people to sign a prayer that will be published as an ad in the Christian Times. The text refers to the repression of that time, but also to the one currently underway in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – This year will mark the 35th anniversary the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the date, 4 June, is approaching.

Traditionally that day was marked in Hong Kong with a vigil in Victoria Park, until Beijing began to clamp down in 2020 imposing a veil of silence on the event while sending the promoters of the last commemoration in June 2019 to jail, where they still languish.

Citing national security considerations, China has muzzled Hong Kong on Tiananmen Square. For some years, the Catholic diocese too has refrained from holding memorial services for the victims of the massacre as it did previously.

To fill the void left by the crackdown, pro-Beijing groups are taking over Victoria Park; instead of thousands gathering with lit candles on the eve of 4 June as they did for years, people will be able to visit fairground stalls.

In this context, an initiative launched by a group of evangelical Christians in Hong Kong becomes very significant, as they try a different way to break the silence imposed by the authorities.

A few days ago, a prayer (in Chinese) was posted online dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the massacre of students in Beijing, China Aid reports, with a call to those who recognise themselves in its words to sign it.

The goal is to turn it into a paid ad to be published on 2 June in the Christian Times, Hong Kong’s evangelical weekly.

"No individual or organisation started this petition, it has been signed jointly by individuals," the promoters said in a statement. Currently, 225 people have put their name to it, and it remains open until 19 May.

The title chosen for the prayer is “By the rivers of Babylon there we sat weeping” from the first verse of Psalm 137, which evokes the experience of exile of the people of Israel.

Remembering the "ruins and rubble" of Jerusalem is a reference to the brutality of the repression in Tiananmen Square, and "the hot blood and passion of so many young lives."

"Even though no stars or candles will be lit tonight, let us light a candle in the depths of our soul in the light of God's miraculous grace,” reads the message. “Let us carry on their unfinished work in light and prayer. Lord, let them not be forgotten.”

The prayer also alludes to the situation in Hong Kong, where power "extends its rough hands in different corners, instilling fear and intimidation.”

Citing Apostle Paul in the Letter to the Romans, the prayer asks God to teach us to preserve even in this time "the power of kindness, tolerance and love" and “mend the cracks in society, safeguarding righteousness, and not allowing the truth to disappear.”

Finally, the prayer remembers those who have been scattered, jailed, or exiled. "With your mighty arm, help and sustain us, so that they may understand Your will, discern it, believe in it, and practice it in the midst of the tumult of the world, awaiting Your return.”

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See also
Remembering Tiananmen: Western consulates in Hong Kong challenge Beijing's bans
04/06/2022 15:53
Hong Kong police say no to Tiananmen vigil on 4 June
20/05/2021 15:20
Young people and religious freedom are the priorities of Hong Kong’s new bishop
18/05/2021 13:49
HK pro-democracy activists to invite exiled dissidents to commemorate Tiananmen Square crackdown
No vigil or Mass in Hong Kong to remember the Tiananmen massacre on 4 June
02/06/2022 14:54


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