Tiananmen: Police ban Hong Kong vigil for victims of 1989 crackdown

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Media captionImages from final yr’s commemoration in Hong Kong

Hong Kong police have banned a vigil marking the Tiananmen Square crackdown for the primary time in 30 years.

Authorities mentioned the choice was as a consequence of well being issues over coronavirus.

However, there are fears this may increasingly finish the commemorations, as China seeks to impose a brand new legislation making undermining its authority against the law within the territory.

Currently, Hong Kong and Macau are the one locations in Chinese territory the place folks can commemorate the lethal 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

In mainland China, the authorities have banned even indirect references the occasions of June 4, which got here after weeks of mass demonstrations that had been tolerated by the federal government.

Whether the commemoration might be allowed to go forward in Hong Kong subsequent yr – when the brand new legislation focusing on what Beijing considers to be terrorism and subversion within the territory will probably be in pressure – is unclear.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption This photograph was taken two days earlier than the crackdown in Tiananmen Square

The proposed legislation has come below widespread worldwide criticism, with seven former UK overseas secretaries urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to type a world alliance to coordinate the response to what they referred to as “flagrant breach” of Sino-British agreements.

Hong Kong was handed again to China from British management in 1997 below the “one country, two systems” mannequin.

Lee Cheuk Yan, the chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, mentioned the “unreasonable” ban on this yr’s vigil means the tip to Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems”.

The vigil in Hong Kong is a big occasion – final yr, organisers mentioned 180,000 folks got here collectively within the metropolis’s Victoria Park. Police put the variety of attendees at below 40,000.

The alliance mentioned folks may come to the Victoria Park in a gaggle of eight folks – allowed below coronavirus laws – and maintain candles whereas observing social distancing.

Lee additionally urged the folks to commemorate the crackdown in several components of the town, and the alliance may even organise a web based occasion across the globe.

What occurred at Tiananmen Square in 1989?

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Media captionWang Dan one of many leaders of the Tiananmen Square protests

Pro-democracy protesters occupied Tiananmen Square in April 1989 and started the biggest political demonstrations in communist China’s historical past. They lasted six weeks, with as many as one million folks collaborating.

On the night time of three June tanks moved in and troops opened hearth, killing and injuring many unarmed folks in and round Tiananmen Square.

Afterwards the authorities claimed no-one had been shot useless within the sq. itself. Estimates of these killed within the crackdown vary from just a few hundred to a number of thousand.

China has by no means given an official determine for a way many individuals died.