In June, Hong Kong’s Victoria Park saw close to 115,000 people gather to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. At the vigil, mothers of the victims of the crackdown laid wreaths at the foot of a replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue that had been erected by student protestors in 1989. Protesters also unveiled a bust of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist and prisoner of conscience who died last year after brutal treatment at the hands of his jailers, and called on the Chinese government to release dissidents from prison and house arrest in mainland China. The organizers of the Hong Kong event said the goal was to call for an end of “one-party dictatorship” in China.
In Hong Kong, the event was tolerated—although police downplayed the event and estimated that there were only 17,000-18,000 attendees. In mainland China, however, such events are strictly prohibited.
Hong Kong, because of its partial autonomy, is the only place in China where the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown can be openly honored. Almost a generation later, the events that transpired in Tiananmen Square cannot be discussed anywhere else. On the mainland, there is no memorial honoring the lives of those who died at the hands of the Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does everything in its power to suppress any mention of Tiananmen Square and all memorials honoring those who died.