The 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown was widely covered by local and international press, with Hong Kong’s annual vigil held on Tuesday being a highlight.

This year’s vigil made headlines on the front pages of the Apple Daily, Sing Pao, and the South China Morning Post. Some outlets also discussed the opposition to the extradition bill, which was seen as a contributing factor to the large turnout. The generational split between the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and younger activists continued to be a source of interest.

Apple Daily – “180,000 commemorate June 4”

As is typical for the pro-democracy Apple Daily, the front page on June 5 shows a sea of candles. The paper has the most extensive print reporting on the commemoration, with dedicated articles on the event’s speakers. It also featured concerns about the extradition bill, interviews with democracy figures Martin Lee and Joseph Zen, interviews with students, volunteers and participants from the mainland.

The paper also included a pull-out poster showing the image of a candlelit Victoria Park, and a collage of portraits of vigil attendees.

Ming Pao – “A sea of candlelight of 180,000, Hongkongers’ memory triumphs over forgetting”

Hong Kong’s leading broadsheet ran six pages of articles on the vigil, which discussed the generational gap over the June 4 commemorations, what the speakers at the vigil said, and how the event relates to the extradition bill controversy and more.

Its editorial for the day said that Hong Kong’s commemoration of June 4 was a manifestation of One Country Two Systems, and that it would be a tragedy if the vigil one day can no longer be held.

Oriental Daily – “June 4 30th anniversary vigil, Organisers put turnout at 180,000 while police say 37,000”

The Beijing-friendly paper reported on the vigil briefly on the 19th page.

Sing Tao Daily – “The US uses the ‘June 4 card’ to give pressure, China condemns interference in internal affairs”

The pro-Beijing Singtao Daily prioritised covering US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on the Tiananmen crackdown, and the foreign policy implications between US and China.

The newspaper spent a page on the Victoria Park vigil, which included reporting on the event’s attendees.

South China Morning Post – “Hong Kong keeps the flame alive”

The English-language South China Morning Post featured a front-page article on the vigil, and also included a full spread with some feature articles and interviews.

Hong Kong Economic Times and Hong Kong Economic Journal – “June 4 candlelight remains undimmed for 30 years”

The Economic Journal included a page on the Victoria Park vigil, and another page on June 4-related news in the mainland and overseas.

The Economic Times covered the vigil, the lack of university students participating, and the relationship between the extradition bill controversy and the vigil’s turnout.

Sing Pao Daily – “US takes four rare actions to commemorate June 4, criticises CCP for violating human rights: Mike Pompeo salutes the heroes of the Chinese people”

The newspaper put a photo of the vigil on its front page, but the article led with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks.

Sing Pao Daily also ran a separate article on the Victoria Park vigil, and its editorial for the day was titled: “The Chinese Communist Party crushes its people’s hopes, the June 4 massacre will not be forgotten.”

Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao – “Carrie Lam defends the extradition bill”

The two Beijing-backed newspapers made no mention of the vigil or the anniversary of the massacre at all. Their opinion pages ran articles on the extradition bill, the Greater Bay Area and the US-China trade war.

See also: HKFP’s complete coverage of the Tiananmen Massacre commemorations.

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Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.