‘HK people don’t need a vigil to remember June 4’

Relatives of some of those killed in Beijing’s crackdown in 1989 say they believe Hong Kong people will continue to find ways to mourn the victims, even if they can’t hold the traditional June 4 vigil.

For the second year in a row, the gathering at Victoria Park has been banned, with the authorities again citing the pandemic for their decision.

Speaking to RTHK in Beijing, the spokeswoman for the Tiananmen Mothers group, You Weijie, said while she could understand the authorities banning the rally on public health grounds, it would not be acceptable if it was because of national security concerns.

“Banning the rally for reasons other than relating to the epidemic, I think would be against humanity. The Hong Kong government should not intervene,” You said. “We have to see how the government will handle the candlelight vigil in the future.”

A founding member of the group, Zhang Xianling, said she had already expected the authorities to ban the memorial one day.

“I had already expected sooner or later the government would intervene, would stop people from commemorating June 4. Hong Kong now has the power, the strength or it thinks the time has come to stop the vigil, and wants people to forget about it,” she said.

But Zhang said she has faith in Hong Kong people.

“Perhaps the candlelight vigil can’t be held, but I believe in the hearts of Hong Kong people there will always be a candlelight, a righteous candlelight. Even if there’s no rally at Victoria Park, people will be remembering the massacre in their hearts and mourn for the victims.”

Zhang said she believed the group would still be able to visit the graves of their loved ones on Friday, albeit under the watchful eye of the authorities.