The organiser of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square candlelight vigil has opened its yearly exhibit of photographs and paraphernalia from the bloody 1989 crackdown in Beijing on those calling for democracy in China.
The opening comes even as Hong Kong authorities have for the second year in a row banned the annual June 4 vigil, which normally draws tens of thousands of people into the streets. Authorities have cited the risk of the coronavirus, though the cancellation coincides with a broader crackdown on political activism and dissent in the city.
Organized by the The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the museum each year shows photographs from the 1989 democracy movement as well as pictures from past candlelight commemorations in Hong Kong.
This year, visitors to the museum will also be able to lay flowers in remembrance of the victims who lost their lives in the mass killing that took place on June 4, 1989.
For decades, the semi-autonomous Chinese cities of Hong Kong and Macau were the only places in China where public commemoration of the crackdown was allowed. Authorities in Macau have also cancelled their vigil for a second year.
Despite the ban, thousands still turned up last year in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to light candles and sing songs. Later, police arrested more than 20 activists who were charged with taking part in an unauthorised assembly.
The crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong followed months of anti-government protests that roiled the former British colony in 2019 and shook leaders back in Beijing.