Hong Kong set for vigil as US marks Tiananmen anniversary

Frederick Owens
June 7, 2018

The heightened tensions came as China lashed out at the U.S. yesterday over Washington's call for Beijing to disclose how many people were killed in the crackdown on the pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. Hong Kong residents commemorate victims of the Chinese government's brutal military crackdown almost three decades ago on protesters in 1989 Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Pompeo marked Monday's anniversary of the crackdown of June 4, 1989, saying: "We remember the tragic loss of innocent lives".

Mr Pompeo quoted the dissident Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died of cancer while in custody past year, as saying: "The ghosts of June 4th have not yet been laid to rest".

"We join other members of the global community and urge the Chinese government to make a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing", added Pompeo.

She said China has lodged an official diplomatic protest with the US.

"The Chinese government has already come to a clear conclusion regarding the political disturbance that occurred in the late 1980s", Hua Chunying, the foreign ministry's spokeswoman, said.

"The US Secretary of State has absolutely no qualifications to demand the Chinese government do anything", she said, adding that Beijing had made "stern representations" to Washington over the statement.

Reuters impishly notes that Chinese citizens can not read the fiery denunciation of Pompeo penned by Global Times editor Hu Xijin because he posted it on Twitter, which is banned by China's authoritarian government.

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Retiree Sammy Au, 71, added he did not feel the vigil was about democratising China but was a tribute to the "selfless" acts of the students who died.

"We are here to condemn China's Communist Party for slaughtering its people", sociology professor and a leader of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement Chan Kin-man said.

Amongst those in the crowds were those from mainland China who would otherwise be barred from publicly marking June 4.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Sunday called on mainland China to promote democratic political reform and guarantee human rights, while urging Beijing to release Taiwanese democracy activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and ensure his safe return to Taiwan.

Hong Kong is the only place in China where such large-scale public commemorations happen, though neighbouring Macau also holds smaller annual gatherings.

"Hong Kong somehow is the only place in China where we can openly mourn the victims of June 4", he said.

Foreigners' passports were checked by Chinese police at a checkpoint almost a kilometre from the square.

"Such a powerful proletarian dictatorship apparatus is afraid of us: the old, the sick, and the weakest and most vulnerable of our society", they wrote in a letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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