People urged to light candles across HK on June 4 - RTHK
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People urged to light candles across HK on June 4

2020-05-20 HKT 13:08
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  • People urged to light candles across HK on June 4
Unable to hold a mass vigil due to coronavirus controls, the people of Hong Kong should light candles across the city to commemorate pro-democracy protesters killed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, an organiser says.

This year's June 4 anniversary of the crackdown by China's communist rulers would be extremely sensitive, after the anti-government mass protests and sometimes violent unrest in Hong Kong since June last year.

In past years, tens of thousands of people have joined sombre and peaceful candlelit vigils in Victoria Park to commemorate the 1989 crackdown in Beijing, when PLA troops opened fire on student-led protesters.

On Tuesday, the government confirmed that the limit on group gatherings to no more than eight people would be extended at least until the end of the day on June 4.

Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organises the annual vigils, said he believed the motive for the extension was "political suppression."

Police have still to respond to an application for the annual vigil to be held in Victoria Park, Lee said, adding that he was "not optimistic.

"We have to have a plan B," Lee said. "Instead of one point, we will do it everywhere, still with the powerful candlelight to condemn the massacre and mourn for those who died in 1989."

Lee said the Tiananmen vigil represented "a litmus test for one country, two systems", although Health Secretary Sophia Chan and Chief Executive Carrie Lam both said on Tuesday that the health measures are not based on political considerations.

The death toll given by officials days after the 1989 crackdown was about 300, most of them soldiers, with only 23 students confirmed killed. China has never provided a full accounting of the violence, but rights groups and witnesses say the figure could run into the thousands. (Reuters)