Hundreds of people gathered in Hong Kong near the site of a banned candlelight vigil on Friday, lighting up their phone flashlights as thousands of police turned out to guard the area and prevent anyone from getting through.
Without talking to each other, the bystanders lit up their phones at around 8.00 p.m. outside the closed gates of Victoria park, at the time when the banned vigil marking the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre would have begun.
The authorities had earlier warned that anyone wearing black, carrying flowers or candles, or chanting slogans could be deemed to have broken the ban, which the government claimed was issued under COVID-19 restrictions for the second year running.
The silent gathering came as mourners and activists outside China marked the anniversary of the bloody crackdown by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that ended weeks of peaceful, student-led mass protests on Tiananmen Square.
At least 200 deaths have been documented in the three decades since the massacre, but a large-scale cover-up and official silence over the killings has meant the true toll has yet to come to light.
Until 2020, Hong Kong was the last city on Chinese soil to mark the event, with regular vigils in Victoria Park attended by thousands of people.
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Reported by Lu Xi and Gigi Lee for RFA’s Mandarin and Cantonese Services. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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