Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan said that he and his colleagues in the pan-democratic camp had no interest in attending Thursday’s military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II “because everyone sees that the June 4 question is still unresolved,” he told local media on Thursday.

Ho, who is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said it was “sad and regretful that after 70 years we still have not seen historical justice advance.”

Albert Ho on military parade
Albert Ho on Beijing’s military parade. Photo: HKFP.

Only three pan-democrats were selected as part of a Hong Kong delegation invited to Beijing to watch the World War II victory day parade on Thursday: former Civic Party member Ronny Tong, Democratic Party vice-chairman Tik Chi-yuen and independent lawmaker Joseph Lee.

The delegation, headed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, also included Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing and pro-establishment lawmakers such as Starry Lee Wai-king, James Tien, Ann Chiang Lai-wan and Christopher Chung Shu-kun.

According to Ho, however, pan-democrats had no interest in celebrating the WWII anniversary, which he said was not a day worth celebrating but for achieving justice for war victims.

CY Leung in Beijing
Chief Executive Leung watching the military parade in Beijing. Photo: CCTV.

Ho said he thinks “everyone feels a great sense of sadness and regret in their hearts” when they see PLA tanks again rumble down Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China was established in May 1989, when pro-democracy student protests filled Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital. The protests were violently suppressed on the night of June 4, during which PLA troops were estimated to have killed up to thousands of people.

China’s government has never officially acknowledged any wrongdoing in the incident, which it immediately labelled a “counter-revolutionary riot.” To this day, any discussion of the protests or their suppression is strictly forbidden in the mainland.

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others