A bus driver who displayed the numbers “8964” on his vehicle’s digital display in commemoration of the 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre has been suspended for three months, according to local media.

The 1989 crackdown, which is usually commemorated on June 4, saw tanks and troops enter Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to suppress student-led protests. Up to thousands were estimated to have been killed and the event remains heavily censored in China.

Bus displaying “8964”.

Citybus, the company which owns the bus, began an investigation of the matter after pictures of the vehicle, parked at a bus station in Admiralty on June 4, spread online. The bus company told local media that the digital display cannot be used for anything unrelated to bus operations, but would not confirm or deny allegations that it had suspended the driver.

Citybus Limited Employees Union president Hui Hon-kit told Apple Daily that he had not heard of the punishment and that he had not received any requests for help.

A N969 bus. File photo: Wikicommons.

He also told HK01 that suspension was “extremely rare” and that “there is no reason to punish.” He also said that it is common for drivers to input numbers other than the bus route. For example, bus drivers may input the time when they might leave the bus terminal so that other colleagues can make adjustments, he said.

He added that in the past, if someone put “8964” on the display, “the company at most sent someone to investigate the situation, and ask the colleague to change it back to the bus route number.”

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.