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Tiananmen remembrances continue despite banned vigil

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/04/20, 04:15 am

Thursday marks the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and for the first time, a candlelight vigil will not take place at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. The annual vigil was the largest gathering marking the day when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, killings hundreds or possibly thousands. Authorities cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason to cancel the gathering, although pro-democracy activists see it as the latest sign of Beijing’s tightening grip on the territory.

How will people still honor the anniversary? Seven Catholic churches will celebrate Mass and light candles for the victims of the crackdown, while the divinity school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong will hold a prayer meeting. Organizers of the Victoria Park vigil encouraged people to light candles on their own and post photos online. Even with the park barricaded, some activists still plan to meet there in groups of eight this evening.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong legislature on Thursday passed a law making it a crime to insult the Chinese national anthem, further stifling free expression in the territory.

Dig deeper: Read June Cheng’s coverage of last year’s candlelight vigil.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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