Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen candlelight vigil drew a record-breaking turnout yesterday at Victoria Park, as residents in the semi-autonomous territory as well as from the mainland came together to participate in the only large-scale event commemorating the 1989 crackdown allowed to take place on Chinese soil. Organisers say 180,000 people took part in the event, but local police put the number at just 85,000.
Fang Zheng, who was run over by a tank in 1989 and lost both his legs, told participants, “Hong Kong is really an ocean of love and conscience. It was stunning to see the sea of candle light. Your participation shows that you have not forgotten the movement 23 years ago. I have to thank you all on behalf of the victims.”
News of the record turnout had Beijing-based activist Hu Jia lamenting over how feel people in his hometown cared about the incident. He opined: “There are 7.07 million Hong Kongers and 180,000 of them are gathered in Victoria Park. Beijing is home to 21 million residents, but only very few of us are remembering the 23rd anniversary of the massacre, and we’re gathered just online. The people of Hong Kong are commemorating the victims in Beijing. What are we Beijingers doing ourselves?”
Video from Helene Franchineau of South China Morning Post.