Ousted General Secretary of the Communist Party, Hu Yaobang, dies at age 73 on April 15, 1989. The next day, thousands of students gather at Tiananmen Square to mourn him -- Hu had become a symbol of reform for the student movement. A week later thousands more marched to Tiananmen Square -- the start of an occupation that would end in a tragic showdown.

Tiananmen Square Massacre: Hong Kong is probably celebrating its anniversary for the last time

“It was a time of hope,” said Lee Chuk-yan, a veteran activist and former Hong Kong lawyer. At the time, the city had been in the hands of the British for eight years, and there was an idea that young protesters across the border could further develop China.

“For many Hong Kong connoisseurs, we felt that 1997 was really hanging over our heads. But the Chinese youth demanded democracy, and we thought that if they built it, it would mean that Hong Kong would not have to be under any authoritarian rule.”

This hope turned to despair, although the People’s Liberation Army crushed the June 4 protests, no official death toll has yet been released, but rights groups estimate that thousands were killed. Tiananmen protests and crackdowns have been removed from China history books, censored and controlled, organizers have been deported or arrested, and relatives of those who have died have been closely monitored.

On Monday, police denied permission for this year’s rally, citing ongoing restrictions on public gatherings related to the coronavirus epidemic. For many anti-Democrats, fairness has faltered: organizers have said they will work with authorities to ensure safe and socially-remote public gatherings, while the city’s shopping district, subway and public parks have been slightly open for weeks. Problems.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement of the ban, Lee said, “Police are suppressing our surveillance by pretending to enforce the ban on rallies.”

The police decision carries extra weight as many are already apprehensive this week May be the last chance Freely on the occasion of the anniversary. Last month, China announced the imposition of a strict national security law on Hong Kong last year in response to widespread and frequent anti-government violence.

The law criminalizes secession, sedition, and catastrophe. This allows the Chinese security services to operate for the first time in Hong Kong – there are fears among many in the city that PLA members may be deployed on the streets after the protests begin.

The group, co-founded by the Hong Kong Alliance in support of the patriotic democratic movement in China, has been organizing the Tiananmen Awakening every year since 1990. It warned that it could be banned The new law indicates its previous support for leaders convicted of similar national security laws in China and its long-standing opposition to a “one-sided dictatorship.”
There is good reason to believe that surveillance may be banned in the future. Last month, CTY Laing, the city’s former chief executive and a senior member of an advisory body to the Chinese government, That’s exactly the prediction, During a memorial service in neighboring Macau – which already has a national safety law on books – Has been blocked by authorities.

.Historical moment

Tiananmen had an invincible influence on Hyan Kong’s politics. Prior to the massacre, rallies were held in solidarity with pro-democracy protesters, and many of the city’s leaders traveled to the north to offer help and support.

After the crackdown, “Operation Yellow Bird“Beijing helped the protesters’ organization and others smuggle into the city at risk of arrest, still on British soil. About 500 people were evacuated from China,” according to the Hong Kong Coalition.
In the years following the crackdown, pressure mounted on the British to defend Hong Kong under impending Chinese rule, and in 1994 Governor Chris Patten was elected to the city parliament for the first time in a fully democratic manner – a move not approved by London and angered by Beijing. Was met.
The legislature elected the following year was the first and only time that there was a pro-democracy majority in parliament. It was broken and Replaced As soon as Chinese control over the city was enforced by a Beijing-appointed agency.

In the eight years since Tiananmen, millions of Hong Kongers have gone abroad, although many have returned soon after the alarming crackdown did not stop, and the city has made economic progress under its new rulers. Most of these returnees brought foreign passports in their back pockets, however, they are ready to flee again if things change for the worse.

A new journey could be the horizon for a new national security law. The UK left after China’s announcement Extend some rights For British National (Overseas) passport holders, including about 300,000 in Hong Kong and 3 million citizens born in the city before 1997 are eligible to apply. London has said that if the law goes ahead, BNO holders will be able to stay in the UK for 12 months instead of 6 months, giving them a possible path to British citizenship.

What happens next?

During two decades of Chinese rule, the Tiananmen Monument has always separated Hong Kong, the litmus test for whether the city’s independence and autonomy were still protected.

It has served as an incubator for a variety of political geniuses, often among the first protests involving many banks in Hong Kong. Many activists, including former umbrella movement leaders Nathan Law and Joshua Wang, spoke of the impact of the June 4 memorial on their own political awakening.

Last year, the city leader, Carrie Lam, Sharp “Hong Kong is a very free society” at this annual gathering as proof.

“If there is a public gathering to express their views and feelings about a historical event, we fully respect those views,” he said.

Asked this week whether the rally would be banned under the new National Security Act, Lam said, “We don’t have a draft law right now. We can handle it later.”

Officials in Hong Kong have insisted that concerns about the law have been allayed, and that the new crimes of sedition, insurgency and secession will only apply to a handful of people, even acknowledging that they are largely in the dark about Beijing’s plans.

In a statement on the law last week, the Hong Kong Coalition warned that it was “like a knife to the neck of all Hong Kong people”.

The group said, “Even if it cuts just a few, it’s a threat to all 7 million freedoms.” “This is the rule of thumb in Hong Kong.”

For now, they still deny that fear, even as coronavirus restrictions thwarted plans for a massive rally. There will be small rallies across the city, and alliances have Calling all residents Lighting candles at 8 a.m., holding them outside the window to restore the sea of ​​light that has become a common image of Victoria Park’s annual surveillance.
“Will the Hong Kong Congress be able to keep an eye on next year? A year in politics is forever, and predictions are dangerous,” wrote Chinese scholar Jerome Cohen. This week. “Nevertheless, unless there is an unexpected change of leadership in Beijing, it is likely that Hong Kong could follow Macau, drowning in amnesia, for a long time to come, especially in light of the upcoming (National Security Act).”

Charmin Lee of CNN contributed to the reporting.

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