The Hong Kong government has effectively banned the city’s annual vigil to remember the Tiananmen Square crackdown by extending regulations against large public gatherings for two more weeks.
Those restrictions were set to expire this week but will now remain in effect until at least June 5, the day the night-time vigil typically takes place.
The vigilin Victoria Park is the only large-scale public gathering on Chinese soil to commemorate the lives lost during the bloody 1989 government crackdown on student protesters holding out in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Last year, the candlelight vigil drew more than 100,000 people amid political unrest in the former British colony.
While Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has insisted that the extension of restrictions was not based on any political motives, organizers see the move as a form of “political suppression.”
In lieu of a gathering, Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organizes the annual vigil, revealed to Reuters that they plan to ask people across the city to light up candles outside their homes on the night of June 4.
“Instead of one point, we will do it everywhere, still with the powerful candlelight to condemn the massacre and mourn for those who died in 1989,” he said.