Monday, 30 May 2011

Marching to Remember

 Yesterday I went to Central in the late afternoon for a swim at the gym when I saw police putting up barricades in front of the Bank of China building.

I assumed it was the usual weekend protests, but noticed there were many policemen congregating in groups of four or five every 50 metres or so on the lookout for the protestors.

It turns out there were some 1,000 people marching less than a week ahead of the June 4 anniversary. They walked from Victoria Park to the Central Government Offices to demand accountability for the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

Some of the protestors joined the march to demand the release of artist and activist Ai Weiwei and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo.

While this year marks the 22nd anniversary, it looks like there will be other causes to remember on Saturday.

On another related note, I met some relatives I had never met before on the weekend. They live in Guangmen, about 100km from Guangzhou. My cousin is two years older than me and already has a teenage daughter.

During dinner my uncle told them about underground churches which they knew nothing about, and how we remember June 4 every year in Victoria Park.

I had told them that the young people I worked with in Beijing had no knowledge of what happened in 1989, or if they did, they were told it was a small incident and that the students were at fault.

My cousin said many of his friends went to Beijing, but he didn't know that there were also rallies in other major cities including Nanjing.

Then my cousin's wife reminisced and said that it happened when she was in high school. "It was 1986, wasn't it?" she said.

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