8 detained, riot police on Hong Kong streets ahead of 34th Tiananmen anniversary

by Reuters: Hong Kong police said on Sunday they had detained eight people near a park, four of whom were detained for “seditious intent and disorderly conduct” as authorities investigated 34 days of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Security was tightened on the anniversary.

Restrictions in Hong Kong have suppressed one of the biggest vigils to mark a bloody crackdown by Chinese troops on pro-democracy protesters, leaving cities such as London, New York, Berlin and Taipei scrambling to keep alive the memory of the June 4 anniversary.

Memorials are expected at at least 30 locations in North America, Europe and Asia on Sunday.

Eight people were detained near Victoria Park, where democracy activists gathered on Tiananmen Square anniversaries for years after 1989.

According to a video clip seen by Reuters, they included artist Sanmu Chan, who chanted “Don’t forget June 4. Hong Kong people are not afraid” as police escorted him away on Saturday evening.

Police said the eight were detained after “demonstrating protest material containing seditious words, chanting and committing unlawful acts”.

Hong Kong activists say such police crackdowns are part of a wider campaign by China to quell dissent in the city, which was promised special freedoms for 50 years under its “one country, two systems” formula , when the former colonial power Britain handed it back in 1997.

The public broadcaster said security across Hong Kong has been tightened this year, with more than 6,000 police officers deployed, including riot and anti-terrorism officers.

Senior officials have warned people to follow the law.

“The police are highly concerned about attempts by some persons to instigate and instigate illegal acts endangering national security, public order and public safety,” the police said in a statement.

In Beijing, Tiananmen Square was packed with tourists taking photographs under the watchful eyes of police and other personnel, but there were no obvious signs of tighter security.

A group of relatives called the Tiananmen Mothers said the suffering never ended.

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The group said in a statement issued by the New York-based Sentinel Human, “Although 34 years have passed, for us, the family members of those killed, the pain of losing loved ones on that one night continues to haunt us to this day.” ” authority in China.

Despite warnings in Hong Kong, some people, including some bookstore owners, are quietly marking June 4.

Jailed Hong Kong activist Chow Hang-tung, one of the leaders of a group called The Alliance that organizes Hong Kong’s annual June 4 Vigils before it disbands in 2021, said on Facebook that she would go on a 34-hour hunger strike. The prison will go on strike.

In mainland China, any mention of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square – where troops opened fire on pro-democracy protesters, killing hundreds if not thousands, according to rights groups – is taboo and the subject is heavily censored.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning, asked about the government’s response to events around the world to mark the anniversary, told a routine briefing in Beijing on Friday that the government had already “reacted to the political upheavals of the late 1980s”. -a clear conclusion about the upheaval was reached”.

In democratically ruled Taiwan, the only part of the Chinese-speaking world where the anniversary can be marked freely and openly, a memorial in Taipei’s Liberty Square accompanied other activities, including a play on Tiananmen by activist Hong Kong playwright Will keep

Vice President William Lai, the presidential candidate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in next January’s election, wrote on his Facebook page that what happened in Beijing in 1989 should be discussed and remembered.

“The June 4 event being held in Taipei shows that democracy and authoritarianism are the biggest difference between Taiwan and China,” he said.