Dozens have attended an “alternative” English-language candlelight vigil outside Tsim Sha Tsui’s Cultural Centre to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The event was hosted by pro-democracy activists Michael Mo and Danny Chan. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the police did not give approval for them to host the event. They proceeded with the gathering and received verbal warnings from both authorities.

Michael Mo. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Mo said the 30-minute event was held for those who did not agree with the patriotic ideals of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, who organise the annual Victoria Park commemoration. He said it also served those who desire an English-language vigil.

🔴HKFP_Live: Young activists are holding an “alternative” English-language vigil in Tsim Sha Tsui to mark the 29th anniversary of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.🕯Live coverage:🕯TST’s ‘alternative’ commemoration:🕯Full coverage:

Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Monday, 4 June 2018

He said that there should be an international court trial for those responsible for the Tiananmen Massacre.

The Tiananmen massacre ended months of student-led demonstrations in China as the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to crack down on protesters in Beijing. UK Foreign Office files declassified last year revealed that a member of the Chinese State Council estimated that at least 10,000 civilians were killed.

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

“I can actually feel there are more young faces here,” Mo said. “I hope this simple and peaceful event will not be the last, owing to the suppression by the government.”

Eric Tsui, a doctor who participated in the vigil, told HKFP that it was beneficial to have an alternative vigil for those who did not agree with the Alliance, who make calls for the democratisation of China.

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

“Such a vigil should be held every year – I saw this event, and so I came,” Tsui said.

A moment of silence was observed. Mo also read aloud poetic works by Liu Xia, widow of dissident Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Activists first hosted a separate vigil in 2013. Localist group Civic Passion hosted alternative rallies on June 4 between 2014 and 2016. The group said the highest attendance was in 2014, attracting 7,000 people.

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Kris Cheng

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.