On the 32nd anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre, the Australian–Hong Kong Industries Alliance and several other pro-democracy organizations jointly gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese consulate in Sydney as a way to commemorate those who died at the hands of the Chinese communist regime in 1989 and show their support for those who have been fighting in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
Citing emergency laws due to the pandemic, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government banned the annual June 4 candlelight rally in the former British colony’s Victoria Park this year.
“The annual Candlelight vigil in Victoria Park is a pride of Hong Kongers, and a testament to Beijing’s propaganda of ‘one country, two systems,'” political scientist Dr. Lam Tsung, the organizer of the rally, told The Epoch Times on June 4.
Lam said the crackdown on Hongkongers freedoms and way of life by the CCP and the Hong Kong government was getting worse. “We are launching this campaign in Australia to speak up for people in Hong Kong,” he said, given that Hong Kongers were unable to hold their own candlelight vigil.
Hundreds of people who attended the Sydney rally held candlelight and sang pro-democracy songs, calling for ending the CCP’s tyrannical rule and redressing the 1989 Massacre.
Don’t Have Any Illusions About the CCP: Former Hong Kong legislator
Ted Hui, a former Hong Kong legislator who is currently in exile in Australia, sent a video to the rally.
Hui said that for the past 31 years, Hong Kong had been the site of the world’s largest June 4 commemorations and was once the only place in China where mourning was legal. Today, the freedoms that Hong Kong once had are completely gone.
“Now in Hong Kong, textbooks no longer talk about correct history,” he said. “Teachers dare not teach anything about the massacre. The CCP has been changing this history, and we must fight back as best we can.”
In Hui’s eyes, the CCP is using violence, force, and fear to rule China and Hong Kong. It wins over allies with economic interests and creates enemies by manipulating people’s patriotism for China, he said. From the Tiananmen Square massacre to the genocide of ethnic minorities, from the brutal suppression of Hong Kong freedoms to the military threats to Taiwan, “We see that the CCP has not changed,” he said.
“The CCP has not become more civilized because of economic progress. Instead, it has become more authoritarian and hideous.”
Hui said that Hongkongers, Chinese people, and all the people oppressed by the regime around the world should remember the lesson of history left by the massacre: “We can no longer have any illusions about the CCP or compromise with it.”
He urged people to unite in the long, generational struggle and to be confident that democracy will prevail.
CCP Must Be Held Accountable for Human Rights Violations: China Expert
“Today we are here to commemorate the martyrs who lost their lives 32 years ago,” Feng Chongyi, a China expert and professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, said at the rally. “The Chinese people’s movement for democracy and freedom was brutally suppressed by the Communist regime but the fighters for democracy never gave up hope and their determination to fight for a better China.
“We come here every year to show the power of our unity, the power of our collective memory, and the power of pursuing the ideals of freedom, human rights, and democracy.
“We will continue to fight until the brutal CCP regime falls, until the entire people, including Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kong, and others, are liberated to enjoy the political civilisation enjoyed by Australians and others around the world.”
Feng said a growing number of people around the world and the entire international community were waking up to the brutality of the CCP regime, and that “we must hold the CCP accountable for human rights abuses.”
Military Crackdown ‘Immoral’ and ‘Unjust’: Local Mayor
Peter Kim, Deputy Mayor of the City of Ryde in Sydney, sent a letter of support to the rally. He said that on June 4, 1989, as a secondary school student in Sydney, he was shocked to see the footage of the CCP’s troops moving into Tiananmen Square to crack down on demonstrators.
“I always thought that the army is used to protect a country from foreign invasion. But I was shocked to see soldiers shooting at people!” he said.
Kim mentioned a similar incident that occurred in South Korea on May 18, 1980, when the South Korean military shot at university students who were demonstrating for democracy.
“In South Korea, this incident is seen as humiliating. What is considered a disgrace is that the military was used to suppress individual freedom of speech and to suppress political demands.”
Former Taiwanese Journalist Asks God to Bless the Spirits of the Martyrs
Su Shih-ying, a former Taiwanese journalist, prayed for the souls of the massacre victims at the rally.
“We are here today to remember the blood and sacrifice of the students who sought freedom and democracy in front of Tiananmen Square in Beijing 32 years ago—the night when a repressive regime opened fire on the people, crushed innocent people, and crushed souls who yearned for freedom,” she said.
“For more than 30 years, the authoritarian regime has misled our next generation with deception and lies to make them forget this wound of history, ignore this lesson of history, obliterate humanity and kindness, fool ignorant people, and make them continue to be the slaves of the authoritarian totalitarianism.”
“Today, we humbly pray before the throne of the grace of God that the spirit of victims of the June 4 Massacre may continue, and that justice may not perish.”
Victoria Park Candles Burn in Our Hearts Forever: Witness
At the rally, Dr. Li Gang, a former lecturer in the physics department at Peking University who witnessed the protests, recalled that he had been forced to leave Tiananmen Square by CCP troops after having a submachine gun held to his head. At that time, although he felt “unwilling” to leave, he couldn’t overcome the submachine gun with his bare hands. He said he was very “sad and angry” inside.
Over the past 30 years, Li said his anger had not faded. Instead, he has seen so many young people arrested and disappeared, so many long-standing pro-democracy figures jailed or forced into exile, as well as the arrogance of the CCP.
“Although the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park has been banned, the incident remains in people’s hearts—in photos, in videos, in milestones in the struggle against the CCP’s tyranny,” he said.
“Victoria Park’s candles may be extinguished for a while but they will never be extinguished in our hearts,” he added.