Groups across the world gathered on Tuesday to commemorate 30 years since the Tiananmen crackdown in a series of poignant spectacles. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed on June 4 1989, as the military ended months of student-led demonstrations in Beijing. 


Taiwan saw hundreds attend an annual June 4 commemoration ceremony at Taipei’s Liberty Square on the anniversary of the crackdown. The square had been occupied by a giant inflatable “tank man” – an unidentified man who stood in front of a row of tanks on the morning after the military opened fire in Beijing.

The event saw a rare testimony from former Chinese soldier Li Xiaoming, who expressed his guilt over the bloody crackdown. Li previously said he had never fired his weapon.

President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying: “Rest assured that despite threats and subversion, Taiwan will unconditionally defend democracy and safeguard freedom. As long as I am president, Taiwan will never bow to pressure.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan also tweeted an image reading “6489” – the dates of the Tiananmen Square Massacre – along with a statement from Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, saying: “Confess, apologise and never do harm again.”

Tsai’s government on Monday urged China to “sincerely repent” for the massacre.


Macau held a similar annual candlelight vigil in Senado Square on Tuesday evening.

Derek Liu, the former executive member of Hong Kong Polytechnical University’s Student Union, was denied entry into the Special Administrative Region on Sunday on the grounds of being a threat to internal security, the union said.


Six activists posed outside the Brandenburg Gate in the German capital of Berlin, bearing images such as “tank man,” the late Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, and bloody scenes of the crackdown.

Tiananmen Berlin
Brandenburg gate in Berlin. Photo: Eva Quistorp.

It was recently revealed that Germany had granted asylum to two Hong Kong activists – Ray Wong and Alan Li – who were due to stand trial on rioting charges for their involvement in the 2016 Mong Kok unrest. The pair fled the city in November 2017.

United States

Chinese dissidents and members of the Church of Almighty God held up signs on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington DC on Tuesday to commemorate victims of the 1989 crackdown. They were joined by members of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Hundreds also gathered outside the Chinese embassy in Washington DC on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre. The protest was organised by the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars.

United Kingdom

A candlelight vigil was held outside the Chinese embassy in London while photographs of victims of the crackdown were laid out in front of the building.

Groups called for an end to autocracy and for the truth of the massacre to be revealed.


Over 500 people in Vancouver gathered outside of the Chinese consulate, according to The Star.

The group chanted “Human Rights for China” and “Shame on You!”.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s annual candlelight vigil was attended by over 180,000, according to organisers. The sweeping gathering saw survivors of the massacre deliver moving accounts and organisers give stark warnings about the city’s declining freedoms.

Photo: Todd Darling/HKFP.
Photo: Todd Darling/HKFP.

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

The turnout for the rally was equal to the highest ever turnout for the event, according to organiser estimates. All six football pitches in Victoria Park were flooded by attendees with some spilling into surrounding areas.

YouTube video

Organisers the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China raised HK$2.75 million during the event – a new record, beating its previous high of HK$2.33 million in 2012, and higher than that of the HK$1.46 million raised last year.

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jennifer creery

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.