June 4, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9376

Hong Kong Police Ban Vigil Commemorating June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre; HK Columnist: 'Candlelights In Victoria Park Are A Good Indicator' Of Whether 'One Country, Two Systems' Still Exists

June 4, 2021
China | Special Dispatch No. 9376

On June 4, 2021, the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, veteran Hong Kong journalist Au Ka-lun wrote in the anti-CCP media outlet Apple Daily that whenever June approaches, one hears that "the candlelights in Victoria Park are a good indicator of whether 'one country, two systems' still exists" in Hong Kong. The day has come, he stressed, for the entire world to witness that this saying is not "mere rhetoric."

Since 1990, tens of thousands of people have gathered for the annual June 4 candlelight ceremony in Victoria Park to remember the hundreds or thousands (estimates range from several hundred to over 2,000)[1] of those killed in the 1989 student protests in Beijing. This year, however, Hong Kong police banned the vigil, on the pretext of the pandemic in the country.

On June 4, media reported that Chow Hang-tung, vice-chair of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organizes the annual commemorative event, was arrested for publicizing the banned assembly. Also arrested was a 20-year old food delivery employee, who was charged with promoting the gathering on social media.[2]

Furthermore, on June 2, Hong Kong's June 4 Museum, the world's only museum dedicated to the victims' memory, was raided, with Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officers suggesting it was operating without a license.[3] During the raid, police took down the personal details of a staff member.[4] It is worth noting that Chinese dissident Wang Dan, a student leader in the Tiananmen Square protests, suggested that a June 4 museum be opened in the U.S. on the 35th anniversary of the massacre, in 2024, because the Hong Kong museum will not be able to continue operating in "a political atmosphere filled with fear."[5]

Below is Au Ka-lun's article:[6]

Candlelight at Victoria Park on June 4, 2018, in Hong Kong. (Source: Anthony Kwan)

If There Is No 'Liberal China,' Any 'Promise Of Democracy Enshrined In The Basic Law' Is A 'Pipe Dream'

"There is this saying: Whenever June is round the corner, one will hear this: the candlelights in Victoria Park are a good indicator of whether 'one country, two systems' still exists. Finally, here comes the day. The entire world will witness on June 4 this year the saying is not mere rhetoric.

"When the candlelights in Victoria Park about to be put out, the June 4th Museum was raided by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and accused of holding no Places of Public Entertainment License. When did shopping malls, eateries, shops and schools, where exhibitions are held by civil organizations oftentimes, apply for a license? Free to do what it likes with legal weapons in hand, the public authority enforces law selectively and politically in a blatant manner, drawing closer to 'one country, one system.' Now the police put a ban on the candlelit vigil for June 4 in the name of the epidemic conditions in Hong Kong; in those years, the Tiananmen Mothers who struggled to light up a candle on the street in Beijing were accused of 'disturbing the peace.' Nowadays, Hong Kong is finally on a par with Beijing. Welcome to the broad and well-paved road leading to 'one country, one system.'

"At the end of spring and the beginning of summer in 1989, Hong Kong people showed support for the democratic movement on the mainland vigorously, not only because they were moved by the students and citizens in Beijing, but they did it for Hong Kong and themselves. Everybody knew pretty well that if there wasn't a liberal China, any promise of democracy enshrined in the Basic Law was a pipe dream, and the prosperity in the city could vanish into thin air overnight. Since tanks running over the streets in Beijing, the onus has been on the last piece of land of freedom left in China to pass on the memories; the candlelights in Victoria Park every year have been embodiments of the nameless plebeians who soaked in blood on Chang'an Avenue [Tiananmen and Tiananmen Square are located at the north and south of the center of the Avenue], incarnations of indelible memories of the iron-fisted almighty regime, manifestations of the system conducting bloody crackdowns that would not be able to get exonerated from the crime it committed.

"Hong Kong people's well-meaning aspirations are: the country and households being well-off and everyone living their life with dignity. They do not only aspire to indulge in gluttony and pleasure-seeking brought to them by a high position and great wealth, but also enjoy different kinds of freedoms proclaimed in writing in the constitution; everybody is an individual worth respecting rather than a tiny screw nail of a country in which nationalism reigns supreme.

The Big Picture Showed That Iron-Fisted Crackdowns Would Befall The City Sooner Or Later

"Both 'laying-flat lifestyle'[7] and 'three-child policy,'[8] hot topics of conversation in recent days among netizens on the mainland, have shown how the system treats the masses as small parts of state apparatus. In a post uploaded by a netizen on the mainland, it is stated that the ones who stand up and work will be picked like leeks; life is short, so one'd better lay flat and live on, spending as little money as one can, not getting married nor giving birth to a child. Even the ones who get dispirited, lay flat and refuse to play the game have been reprimanded by party-run media for being 'shameful.' When the population growth goes stagnant, what the system is concerned about is the inadequate capacity of labor force, and the productivity not grow at supersonic speed. So, the three-child policy came into being from nowhere, zeroing in on national productivity.

"Despite 'End one-party dictatorship'[9] having become a politically sensitive phrase today, there is no 'one-party dictatorship' mentioned in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China at all. So, it is embarrassing to say that issuing a rallying cry for it is unlawful. Yet, 'people's democratic dictatorship,' which keeps more abreast of times, is brought up in the Constitution. Sinologist Maurice Meisner noted in his work Mao's China and After: A History of the People's Republic that the 'people's democratic dictatorship' that is seemingly a national policy full of contradictions is in fact that 'one the one hand, democracy is exercised on the people; on the other hand, dictatorship on those who are not considered part of the people.' Whether democracy has been implemented has become a matter of definition. As regards on whom dictatorship was exercised on, they were the 'imperialists' lackeys,' 'the landlord class and the bureaucrat bourgeoisie' and 'reactionaries from the Kuomintang and their accomplices' right after the People's Republic of China was founded. The purpose of exercising dictatorship was to deprive those people of the rights to democracy.

"The ensign of 'People's democratic dictatorship' is still flying in the sky, as evidenced by the fact that the accusation of 'colluding with foreign forces' is still a handy tool; powerful departments continue to wipe out civil organizations and take severe measures against Weiquan lawyers (rights protection lawyers); no billionaires will be spared. On the mainland, flagrant opposition has dissipated for a long time. Any freedom, autonomy or passive resistance is considered as an incompetent gearwheel hampering the machine from running smoothly, hence guilty of the most heinous crime. In recent years, no mention of seven subject matters at colleges, CCTV becoming a family member of the Party and the wolf-warrior diplomacy have been hinting to Hong Kong people that it is barely possible for Hong Kong to preserve the confines of the promise land when the situation on the mainland is so grim and grave.

"June is a month of commemoration. June 9, June 12 and June 16 [dates linked to the Hong Kong protests] follows June 4. Patriots are fond of the theory 'if one had known it would come to this, one would not have acted thus,' insinuating that if the 'black bloc' had not done what they did, the central government would not have taken the work on. Looking back on the anti-extradition movement, one will find that the SAR government had never had a thought of taking care of public opinion, and never introspected about the reasons for its low approval ratings, never cared about the appropriacy rating of the administration approaching zero, not to mention mollycoddling the police that are not checked and balanced. The armed force that gave up defending the LegCo [Legislative Council Complex] building did not even mind the crisis escalating.

"Looking back in June, one will find Hongkongers have been trying to turn the tide. The big picture showed that iron-fisted crackdowns would befall the city sooner or later. It was simply a matter of time before it happened. Some said it had come earlier than expected. No, since 1997, we had enjoyed a long vacation for 24 years."


[1], June 4, 1999.

[2], June 4, 2021.

[3], June 2, 2021.

[4], June 2, 2021.

[5], June 2, 2021.

[6], June 4, 2021.

[7], May 26, 2021.

[8], May 31, 2021.

[9], June 1, 2021.

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