‘alone like a match polished into light
when childhood’s tunnel
led to a vein of dubious ore
to be lost is a kind of leaving
and poetry rectifying life
rectifies poetry’s echo’
—Bei Dao’s “Requiem”, translated by Eliot Weinberger

Tuesday June 4, 2019 will mark 30 years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, when the Chinese government crushed the nascent democracy movement led by students and workers. The ensuing decades have brought tumultuous changes to the culture, politics, economics of China and the whole world.

tiananmen massacre readings

To honour the struggle of the democracy protesters, mourn their defeat, and take stock of the last three decades, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is convening a special feature of translations and original English works, to be published in the June 2019 issue of the journal.

In collaboration with PEN Hong Kong and Hong Kong Free Press, the journal is gathering a group of writers on Monday, June 3 to read selected texts which reflect their memory of the protests. They will share their views on democracy, and their hopes for the future of Hong Kong and China in Matches Polished Into Lights: Tiananmen Thirty Years On.

vigil tiananmen
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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.