University student unions will hold separate events commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, after an earlier split with the organisers of the annual candlelight vigil at Victoria Park over localist sentiments.

Representatives from the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) have been participating in the Victoria Park vigil annually, but – in April – it withdrew from organising groups the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and the Civil Human Rights Front.

As student unions will not participate in the Causeway Bay vigil, several have planned to host a forum at the university mall of the Chinese University of Hong Kong on the night of June 4, reported Apple Daily.

June 4 2015
June 4, 2015. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Shue Yan University student union deputy president Paul Liu Chun-sing told the newspaper that unions including his, those of Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Chu Hai College of Higher Education were planning to host a student forum entitled “On Hong Kong’s future through the meaning of June 4th”.

Liu said that it was not necessary to be present at Victoria Park to commemorate the crackdown.

The University of Hong Kong student union will not join the forum due to the high financial cost of hosting it, but it said it will host another forum at the university’s Sun Yat-sen Place.

File photo: HKFP.
File photo: HKFP.

Its president Althea Suen Hiu-nam told the newspaper that their forum would accommodate 2,000 people, though separate forums could accommodate more participants.

Polytechnic University student union president Franco Wong Chak-hang said that they were planning to host another forum on the afternoon of June 4 at Times Square in Causeway Bay, along with the student unions of Lingnan University and Hong Kong Institute of Education.

A representative of the Hong Kong Institute of Education added that it was still deciding on which forum to join.

HKFS June 4 Vigil
HKFS representatives at a previous June 4 vigil for the Tiananmen Massacre. Photo: HKFP.

Alliance chairman and lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan said at a press conference that he felt sad that HKFS had withdrawn from the Victoria Park vigil, but respected their choices.

“HKFS was one of the first organisations to support the 1989 movement… but we may come together again,” he said.

He said that forums on Hong Kong’s future could be hosted on other days, but the night of June 4 has a specific historical meaning. He added that candle lights at Victoria Park were symbolic in showing Hong Kong people’s persistence and determination in their demands for vindication of the 1989 movement, which was a proud local movement in itself.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.