For the second year in a row, Hong Kong authorities banned a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park to commemorate victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, which saw Beijing deploy its army to crush months of pro-democracy protests in the capital.

The vice-chair of the group traditionally responsible for the vigil was arrested on Friday morning, as thousands of police officers were deployed across the city to prevent unauthorised gatherings, arresting at least six people.

Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Amid what democrats have decried as a shrinking space for civil liberties in Hong Kong and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, activists overseas continued to hold memorials — both in person and online — for Tiananmen victims on the massacre’s 32nd anniversary.

Taiwan: Light display at Taipei’s Liberty Square

A coalition of 30 NGOs and civil society groups in Taiwan organised an LED light display that read “8964 32” in Taipei’s Liberty Square.

“We are deeply saddened that our partners in Hong Kong have suffered as a result of the June 4 memorial activities, and we express our condemnation of the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong government,” a statement read. “We are duty-bound to continue the spirit of the June 4 memorial in Taiwan.”

Photo: Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

A memorial site was also set up at the square. Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee, who disappeared into Chinese custody in 2015 and fled to Taiwan in 2019, showed up to remember the victims.

Photo: Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

An online vigil also took place to mark the massacre on Friday evening, featuring speeches by June 4 dissidents Wu Renhua and Wu’er Kaixi, as well as Chinese-Australian dissident artist Badiucao, and other Taiwanese political figures.

Canada: Wreath laying in Toronto

Activists in Toronto laid a wreaths at Tiananmen monuments, including a Goddess of Democracy statue erected at York University, to reinforce their pledge to “never forget Tiananmen.”

Photo: Toronto Association for Democracy in China.

A coalition of three Canadian activist groups also held a virtual memorial for Tiananmen victims.

Australia: Self-exiled ex-lawmaker hosts vigil in Adelaide

Self-exiled Hong Kong activist and former lawmaker Ted Hui hosted a vigil with dozens of people in Adelaide, Australia for Tiananmen and Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Holding candles and surrounded by open yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the movement, the group sang the city’s protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” and shouted “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” a slogan that the Hong Kong government says is illegal.

Photo: Ted Hui via Facebook.
Photo: Ted Hui via Facebook.

USA: Washington Square Park in New York

Hundreds of people held vigil at Washington Square Park in New York, some held “Liberate Hong Kong” flags from the city’s 2019 pro-democracy movement. Former student leader of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement Alex Chow was also present.

Photo: Thirdblade Photography.
Photo: Thirdblade Photography.
Photo: Thirdblade Photography.
Alex Chow. Photo: Thirdblade Photography.

UK: Vigil outside London’s Chinese embassy

A group of hundreds waving a Tibetan flag and “Liberate Hong Kong” flags gathered outside the Chinese embassy in London to attend a vigil organised by seven activist groups. Self-exiled Hong Kong activist Nathan Law was also in attendance.

Photo: Nathan Law via Twitter.

Europe: Parliamentarians on social media

Members of the European Parliament posted photos of themselves holding candles and placards on social media to pay tribute to those who lost their lives 32 years ago.

Photo: Reinhard Bütikofer via Twitter.
Photo: Reinhard Bütikofer via Twitter.

Japan: ‘Liberate Hong Kong’ Flags in Tokyo

A dozen activists waved flags displaying the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

Liberate Hong Kong flags in Shinjuku, Tokyo on June 4, 2021. Photo: Viola Kam/United Social Press.
Photo: Viola Kam/United Social Press.
Photo: Viola Kam/United Social Press.
Liberate Hong Kong flags in Shinjuku, Tokyo on June 4, 2021. Photo: Viola Kam/United Social Press.

Worldwide: Lighting candles

Individuals worldwide also lit candles in private to mark 32 years since Beijing’s crackdown.


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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.