Thursday, 4 June 2015

Keeping Memories of Tiananmen Alive

An elderly woman is compelled to touch the Goddess of Democracy tonight
It's that time again -- to commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown that is now in its 26th year.

Some young people born in the 1990s who gathered at Victoria Park early said they learned about the incident from their teachers at school and have been coming in the last few years. They strongly felt the horrific incident should never be forgotten.

However this is the first year after the Occupy protests, and some university student union groups feel the fight for democracy in China is not viable anymore and would rather focus on Hong Kong instead.

People filing in early into Victoria Park before the 8pm start
This opinion is not something candlelight vigil organizers at Victoria Park want to hear, and add the students' view on the issue is too narrow-minded -- that June 4 was an incident that was seen via media on a global scale and that democracy is something people around the world fight for.

Nevertheless, University of Hong Kong Student Union President Billy Fung says each community can fight for its own democracy, and that while we must not forget what happened 26 years ago, people can hold vigils in various locations in Hong Kong, not just Victoria Park.

Tonight it looks like this evening there was a strong turn out in the park again, with all the pitches filled, as well as surrounding areas. It's a relief to see people, young and old continuing to show up, but perhaps it's because of their growing discontent with the Chinese government and they hope their presence will force Beijing to be accountable for its actions.

There are young and old in the park earlier this evening
We do too.

This day is also a personally sad one for me to remember my friend Diao Ying who ended her life on this day two years ago.

She was a bright, hard working reporter who swiftly rose up the ranks in Chinese state media, and dabbled a bit abroad to get a taste of journalistic freedom.

But it may be that state media's absolute hierarchical structure made it impossible for her to hold superiors accountable for their actions, and as a result Ying may have felt she had no way out except to commit suicide.

I miss her very much -- she was bubbly and always tried to find the upside of things. She was so eager to learn new things and in turn she gave me insights on China and how things work there.

I hope Ying is where she wants to be and that she is not forgotten, like those who lost their lives 26 years ago.


  1. 1. Tiananmen remembered... Good: Anti-corruption
    2. ?Shanghai massacre ?Nanjing massacre? Jap invasion to try destroy the Chinese race...SIGH...All forgotten? Almost funny, that is memory can be so selective!
    3. June 4, today, maybe we should also spare a thought, for Shanghai Massacre survivors, who went on to heal the Chinese nation? Thanks to them, China (therefore HK also) is now no longer an international laughing-stock!
    4. Every Chinese person has paid a price for that long-sought Restoration: millions paid with their lives. Middle classes only paid the price of asset-loss: property, money etc. We kept our lives. Maybe we should also keep ALL our memories?

  2. Anonymous, you seem to have selective memory and very hypocritical...

    1) remember the Americans who entered WWII and beat back the Japanese essentially saving PRC China from being Japanese slaves. In addition, US are the ones sponsoring China into the WTO/WHO. So be grateful to the Americans.

    2) Remember PRC China causing trouble back in 1960s inciting a riot in HK, those survivors are still in HK today. remember those who survived the Cultural Revolution and famine, those are in HK today. The famine is avoidable if Mao isn't so pig-headed. Plus China become an international laughing stock when at the height of power decided to cut itself off from the rest of the world and were defeated in the 1800s.

    3) Even today, PRC Chinese are hated worldwide for their uncivilized behavior. Plus builting an artifical island near the Spratly (Phillipine terriority) despite sigining a UN charter agreeing to UN rules. China will start the next World War if PRC China doesn't change its behavior...

    4) remember all asset owners paid the price and loss everything when Mao comes to power along with those shot on that summer day in 1989, we should keep ALL memories, NOT selectively remember what you (and the {PRC) wanted to remember.