Thousands Commemorate June 4 in Hong Kong

June 6, 2007 Updated: June 6, 2007

HONG KONG—Over 50,000 people attended a candlelight vigil held at Hong Kong's Victoria Park on the night of June 4 to observe the 18-year anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre.

The annual event, organized by the Hong Kong Alliance for Supporting Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (the Alliance), started at 8:00 pm with the reading aloud of the names of the victims, who were killed on June 4, 1989 when Chinese army cracked down on the students protesting in the Tiananmen Square. Then the Alliance's chairman Szeto Wah offered flowers to the large memorial tablet temporarily erected in the park for the event. Upon the conclusion of a eulogy, the entire Victoria Park was quickly transformed into an ocean of flickering candlelight. White candles in hands, the people started chanting, “Redress June 4,” “Support rights protection movement,” and other slogans.

Through a big screen, the organizer broadcast a videotaped speech of Li Xuefen, a family member of one of the victims.

“In these 18 years,” Li said, “Fourteen of us, family members of the victims fighting side by side for justice, have passed away. Until the moment they died, these friends of difficult times had not forgotten seeking justice for those that were killed,” said Li.

Also being broadcast at the vigil was the speech of Wang Dan, one of the student leaders of the Tiananmen democratic protest 18 years ago.

Wang said, “Eighteen years ago, the Chinese communist regime ordered what was a small-scale regular war as well as bloody means to suppress unarmed people, shocking the world and exposing the brutal nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

Among the people who spoke at the rally was Albert Ho Chun-yan, the secretary general of the Alliance, the chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, and a member of the Legislative Council. Ho took the opportunity to criticize the corruption within the CCP. Ho said that the collusion between Chinese officials with the business sector has formed in China a gang-like political order thirsty for money.

Before the candle vigil, about two hundred people participated in a prayer meeting organized by the Catholic Dioceses of Hong Kong and was led by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Catholic bishop of Hong Kong, who returned from the United States to Hong Kong specifically for the prayer meeting. Wearing a black shirt and white clerical collar of a priest rather than his red cardinal robe, Zen contrasted the lack of civil liberty in China with the various freedoms enjoyed by Chinese outside China.

Zen said he hoped that people would be awakened by the blood of the victims of June 4 and that democracy would one day be materialized in China.

Of all the annual commemorations around the world of the June 4 massacre, the one in Hong Kong is always the largest, with attendees coming from all age groups and all walks of life.