In Hong Kong, the annual vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square protests was banned for the first time


Hong Kong police banned the annual vigil to commemorate the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing for the first time. The ban was motivated by the risk of coronavirus spreading among protesters, although many believe that the real reason is the fear of new protests, such as those that democracy activists have been carrying out for almost a year.

In the last few days, with the end of many of the restrictive measures for the coronavirus pandemic, protests had started again following the bill approved recently by the National People’s Assembly of China, the highest legislative authority of the People’s Republic, which will give new great powers to the Chinese government on national security in Hong Kong: the details of the text are not yet clear, but the fear is that China may in fact put itself in a position to punish any act deemed contrary to “national security”.

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Hong Kong, an autonomous territory in south-east China, is one of the only two places in China, together with Macau, where demonstrations to commemorate the Tiananmen Square protests of June 4, 1989 are allowed, due to their special status. In the rest of the country they have always been banned.

Event organizers said they would meet in Victoria Park anyway to commemorate the anniversary by lighting a candle in silence, and they invited all other citizens to do the same by organizing online demonstrations.

On June 4, 1989, the Chinese army violently repressed the large student demonstrations that had been calling for democracy and respect for human rights in the country for weeks. Official estimates have never been released, but hundreds of casualties are believed to have died. The most famous and reproduced episode of the protests was that of the protester – whose identity remained unknown – who blocked a column of Chinese tanks on the square unarmed.

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