Hong Kong’s Victoria Park was so packed yesterday that every inch of its ground was occupied. People gathered there for the candlelight vigil in commemoration of those who died during China’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement 20 years ago.
The organizer of the rally, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said there were 150,000 people in the park. Well, there may be dispute about the actual figure, but by being there myself, I can testify that there has not been a rally in recent years that can draw so many people. Everywhere – the lawns, the football pitches, the park paths – was thronged with people. Many people just stood, against each other, for the whole two-hour vigil.
The big turnout is the pride of Hong Kong, where people demonstrate that a clear conscience is what matters in life – the economic prosperity in China and the prosperity it brings Hong Kong do not mean that the crackdown had not happened, the history should be distorted and the tragedy should be forgotten, as suggested by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang on the eve of the June 4 vigil.
In his position, Tsang has every reason to say that in order to curry the favor of the Beijing authority who appointed him to the Hong Kong top job. Boss must be flattered, conscience can be sacrificed. That is his credo. I hope he would pray to his God for forgiveness – he goes to church every morning before going to work.
In the rally, around me, I saw faces that are obviously from mainland China. They took photos and sang songs along. I was glad they got the chance to breathe some fresh air of political and speech freedom.
Hong Kong is the only place on the Chinese soil that holds a large rally every year on June 4. In Macau this year, there were only dozens of people participating in a June 4 rally.