Remembering the Victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

An estimated 115,000 people gathered in Victoria Park for the 29th commemoration of the June 4 massacre. (Image: Cheng Jin / Secret China)
An estimated 115,000 people gathered in Victoria Park for the 29th commemoration of the June 4 massacre. (Image: Cheng Jin / Secret China)

Crowds gathered in semi-autonomous Hong Kong to remember the victims of China’s Tiananmen Square massacre (the June 4th incident) of 1989 and fight against authoritarian rule. Tens of thousands have been coming together at Victoria Park since the 1990s, with their central message being the democratization of China.

The organizers, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, estimated that 115,000 people were in attendance this year. Participants spanned the generations — families with young children, students, workers, and the elderly — joined hearts and future hopes in a candlelight vigil.

(Photography: Cheng Jin)

Crowds gathered in semi-autonomous Hong Kong to remember the victims of China’s Tiananmen Square massacre. (Image: Cheng Jin / Secret China)

Among them were witnesses to the atrocities committed against thousands of pro-democracy protesters — many of whom were students — in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square by the 27th Army of Shanxi Province.

According to Sir Alan Donald, the then-British ambassador to China, the death toll from the massacre was at least 10,000 — a figure that allegedly fits the Communist regime’s own internal assessment. The 27th Army’s armored tanks opened fire on the crowd, before running over them at 65km/h, according to a secret cable written by Sir Donald on June 5, 1989, which is currently in The National Archives.

Said Sir Donald:

The massacre allegedly continued, sparing no one, not even children and their mothers.

(Photography; Cheng Jin)

Tens of thousands have been coming together at Victoria Park since the 1990s, with their central message being the democratization of China. (Photography: Cheng Jin/Secret China)

Clips of the crackdown were replayed on a big screen, showing scenes of gunfire, blood, and the frantic cries for loved ones, followed by an interview with Di Mengqi, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers group, who said:

Any mention of Beijing’s brutal crackdown remains strictly censored in the mainland.

(Photography: Cheng Jin)

Participants spanned the generations  —families with young children, students, workers, and the elderly — who joined hearts and future hopes in a candlelight vigil. (Image: Cheng Jin / Secret China)

Addressing the gathered, Alliance chairman Albert Ho said:

A student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said the crackdown was meaningful to the people of Hong Kong because it added fuel to their local democratic movements. She said: “I admire the selflessness of those students. They fought for all Chinese and were suppressed in such a brutal way! I had to come to voice my support.”

A woman named May has been attending the vigil every year to mourn the deceased. After watching the scenes from 1989, she said: “As a mother myself, I was heartbroken.”

Translated by Cecilia and edited by Emiko Kingswell

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