|Over 15,000 lit candles in the hopes of democracy in China|
Tonight was the first time I attended the June 4th vigil at Victoria Park. And I hope it will not be my last.
|Paper cranes in front of a picture of Tiananmen Square|
The crowd wound its way into Victoria Park with more stands, more bullhorns with people calling for attention to their cause, asking for donations. A few politicians were there including Emily Lau Wai-hing, waving to the incoming crowd.
|Get your redress June 4 memorabilia|
Finally it started with a giant stand with flowers placed in the front along with a giant lit torch. We all stood up and bowed three times, then three times again. Lee Cheuk-yan is the chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and took over after Szeto Wah. He gave a speech in an emotional voice, calling for everyone to remember this dark day in history and how 22 years later we are still calling for redress and waiting for democracy and human rights in China. Even though Uncle Wah is not here, Lee said, we will continue to remember in future generations what happened.
Interspersed were songs that were sung earlier and shouting out slogans calling for the redress of June 4, for human rights and democracy.
|Messages urging for redress of June 4|
Wang Dan also gave a video recorded message in his office strangely dressed in a suit while the rest of us were sweating in T-shirts and shorts.
Hong Kong students went on stage and talked about how they are the same age as those idealistic students over 20 years ago. The main speaker talked about how they are told to love their country, but how can they when they see the repression in Inner Mongolia, the people being moved away in the Three Gorges Dam area, people committing suicide in factories in Shenzhen...
|Quirky slogan: "Heaven Destroys CCP"|
And finally Lee came back on stage again, repeating what he said earlier, but also added that while Hong Kong may not have democracy, it has freedom of speech. "Wen Jiabao, ni pa shenme?" Wen Jiabao, what are you afraid of? Many clapped again.
|Messages calling for the remembrance of June 4, 1989|
I suggested that perhaps the censors were doubly on alert today.
Throughout the event the organizers gave updates on how many football pitches were filled up and eventually all six were and the grass areas were filled too. They added the police count was that there were some 150,000 people there tonight.
This year was particularly bittersweet, with the passing of Szeto in January and the unprecedented crackdowns due to fears of a Jasmine revolution (we were handed jasmine flowers), and the detainment of Ai and imprisonment of Liu which probably explained the large turnout.
It was wonderful seeing so many people, particularly young people who weren't even alive in 1989 at the event. They understand what happened thanks to their parents and media and are willing to come and commemorate the incident.
We inched our way out of the park and streets and grabbed yet another bite to eat. While eating and drinking we watched Li Na make history to win the French Open, beating Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (7-0).
Now the Chinese have something to celebrate about on June 4 than be afraid of...