No mass in memory Tiananmen will take place in Hong Kong for the first time in 33 years. This is a new sign that the country has lost all commemoration of the 1989 crackdown on prodemocracy protestors in Beijing on the 4th June 1989.
Beijing has banned traditional candlelight vigils in Beijing since it enacted a severe national security law in 2020 in order to stop pro-democracy protests. The Tiananmen museum was closed and the commemorative sculptures were removed.
Hong Kongers still had the option of attending annual Catholic services to remember the Tiananmen victims. They were canceled this year due to concern from the Church.
Martin Ip, chaplain of Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students and one of the organizers, said that "we find it very difficult" in today's social climate. He told AFP that his main goal was not to violate the law.
The subject is taboo in China's mainland neighbor, China, where the communist regime never expressed regret for the 1989 massacre.
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This part of history was taught in schools in Hong Kong for a long period. Since the June 2020 entry into effect of the national security law (which allowed Beijing to stamp its authority on the territory), everything has changed.
Every year, the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance held an annual vigil for thirty years. She is currently being charged with "incitement to Subversion", which is a national security offense.
The Alliance has been accused by police of being a "foreign agents", a charge that echos Beijing's assertion that the Tiananmen demonstrations were sparked from the outside.
This Alliance managed the June 4 Museum. It was forced to close its doors in 2013. Others chose to give up, not knowing what the red line means.
Shortly before Christmas, the University of Hong Kong removed Jens Galschiot's "Pillar of Shame" statue.
A mural by Chen Weiming at Lingnan University was taken down and placed in a separate room. The statue of the Goddess of Democracy at Chinese University of Hong Kong was removed and moved to an undisclosed safe place'. These universities claim they did not consent to these works being there and that their removal was based on legal risk.
Only a trace of the square pedestal that stood at the site where the statue was is left. The pillar was eventually replaced with pebble-shaped benches or flowerpots.
Galschiot, a sculptor, told AFP that this reflects the fact no one will ever know what happened there in a few decades.
The university wouldn't allow him to use its staff to transport his sculpture to Europe. And the logistics companies won't let him get involved. The artist says they "say it's too complex and dangerous."
Chen Weiming is waging a legal fight against the CUHK. The artist stated that they are trying to erase an embarrassing episode in history where the state committed a crime towards its people.
The University of Hong Kong had a June 4 slogan on campus that stated it was "normal maintenance".
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, 57 books about Tiananmen cannot be borrowed from the city's public libraries.
To commemorate the Tiananmen massacre we will have to leave Hong Kong. Exiled dissidents create their own museums in America, while activists plan to revive the "Pillar of Shame” in Taiwan.
Galschiot stated that "it's not about June 4, at the end of the day." It's about freedom to discuss what happened in China and history... the right of talking about what happened all over the world.