Thursday, 16 January 2014

Commemorations Have Already Begun

Imagine Tiananmen Square 25 years ago filled with people calling for change
This year marks the 25th anniversary of what happened in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, and already activists have begun marking the event with a five-month hunger strike.

People are not going without food for all five months -- they are taking turns not eating for one day, while holding protests at various Chinese embassies and diplomatic missions around the world.

The campaign, dubbed "a global seige" in Chinese, is organized by several people including dissident Wang Dan, calling for the Chinese government to be held accountable for what happened a quarter of a century ago.

Wang already began the hunger strike on January 1 and Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan and League of Social Democrats members Andrew To Kwan-hang and Avery Ng Man-yuen each took their turns not eating on the three days that followed.

The former dissident leader hopes the momentum will continue until June 4 and one can expect this year's event at Hong Kong's Victoria Park will be a huge turnout to say the least.

The Chinese government would not care if someone went on a hunger strike to protest against it for killing thousands of civilians, but protesting loudly and in large groups in front of embassies would be highly embarrassing.

I didn't know this, but there will be the first permanent museum of the incident opening in Tsim Sha Tsui in April.

It is initiated by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Movements in China, which bought space in a building for HK$9.7 million and made the announcement on December 21.

"We want to target the younger generation, those born after the massacre, and the mainlanders, who live in a place where the words 'June 4' are banned," said alliance chairman Lee Cheuk-yan. "The museum might help them to understand their history objectively."

Last year the alliance had a temporary museum set up in Sham Shui Po and then moved it to City University this year, attracting some 21,000 visitors. Lee said the temporary museum could not display more valuable items for security reasons but the new space may solve that problem.

It is expected the museum will charge HK$20, a reasonable amount and there surely will be curious mainlanders wanting to see why they can't find this information online back in China.

It looks like this year China will be on the defensive, as dissidents come out of the woodwork and activists descend on various Chinese embassies around the world, calling for accountability.

But China will definitely be silent on the issue, 25 years later. It hasn't even begun to resolve the Cultural Revolution, let alone Tiananmen Square. Nevertheless we just want the victims to know they have not been forgotten and we continue to fight for justice.

2 comments:

  1. Not eating for one day is not a hunger strike, and it's high time we stopped reporting on it as if it were.

    There has been more than a few times where I haven't eaten all day because I was busy and didn't bother to stop work to eat. That doesn't mean I'm carrying on a hunger strike.

    Anything below 72 hours is a token gesture, not a hunger strike, and it does a genuine disservice to people who are on real hunger strikes elsewhere to pretend otherwise.

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    1. Hi Anonymous

      Agreed as said in my post. The Chinese government doesn't care if you've eaten or not. Protesting in large groups outside Chinese embassies would be more effective and get more media attention.

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