Monday, 5 June 2017

The Ideological Rift Continues

Last night's candlelight vigil in Victoria Park to remember June 4
It's disappointing many university students did not attend the candlelight vigil last night to remember the victims of the June 4 massacre.

The student union of Chinese University issued a statement, saying the time to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown "has come to an end".

The statement read: "The union believes the commemoration has come to an end, and June 4 needs to be marked with a full stop until the echo resounds."

Chinese University student union wants to focus on HK
What echo are they talking about?

The union criticized vigil organizer the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, saying the event had turned into a ritual and "made use of the public's moral sentiment to build up its political capital".

That is a loaded statement, but not everyone who attends the vigil is taking a political stand. Some are there to remember innocent lives lost that day, while others might use it as a proxy protest against China.

Instead, the union said, Hong Kong people should focus on local political issues, as repeatedly calling for the vindication of the Beijing protesters involved in the June 4 crackdown were futile.

The event is a ritual -- an annual ceremony to remember the dead, that they are not forgotten as Beijing would like the rest of the world to do. Hong Kong is the only city on Chinese soil where we can hold this ceremony, so why not? Why not use this as an opportunity to show the Chinese government we are not sweeping this tragic event under the carpet.

What is wrong with an annual ritual remember the dead?
Responding to the criticism, alliance secretary Lee Cheuk-yan described the student union's statement as heartbreaking.

"The alliance is not asking people to love the country or not. Lighting the candle does not represent your views on the pursuit of democracy. It's a candle light of accusation."

He added advocating for democracy on the mainland did not contradict fighting for democracy in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, a group of Chinese University alumni and students issued their own statement, saying the union was being "ignorant", "cold blooded" and "lazy".

They obviously didn't think the student union represented their views.

It is important to pass on the memories while the authorities are working hard to deny the history," said former Chinese University student union president Tommy Cheung Sau-yin.

This rift is doing no favours for Hong Kong and the cause for June 4 and democracy in the city. We need to band together to show unity otherwise Beijing will divide and conquer, its favourite tactic.

Can't we all get along... somehow?

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