Hong Kong is not just a place where mainlanders snatch up luxury properties, give birth so that their children enjoy right of abode in the city, or buy baby milk powder of quality assurance. They also come for a non-material purpose.
Some come for remembering what happened on June 4, 1989 when the student democracy movement in Beijing was crushed with military force, leading to bloodshed.
A Mr Zhao came with his colleagues (about 10 of them) to attend the June 4 candle-light vigil held in Victoria Park. This was their first time attending the activity. He was studying in the Beijing Foreign Language University in 1989, and had gone home for dinner on the night of June 3, therefore avoiding the fate of some of his classmates who were killed. It took him several years to come to terms with his guilt and sadness. Having heard about the annual June 4 commemorative activity in Hong Kong, he has decided to come to attend. “Hong Kong people should continue with the June 4 commemorative activity. Don’t let Hong Kong’s tomorrow be turned into mainland’s today. Hong Kong should keep its freedom and democracy, and lead China towards the direction.”
A Mr Sui, 50, said he had endured the sadness over the June 4 incident for over 20 years. He was a young man in 1989: “I witnessed the incident. I hated Communist Party, but the hatred can only be harbored inside. I have no freedom to do things. It pains me.”
During his visit to Hong Kong last year as a tourist with his wife, he got to know that Hong Kong held the June 4 candle-light vigil every year. The arrest of Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei and their likes angered him, so he decided to come to Hong Kong on June 4 just to attend the gathering in Victoria Park. “It is troublesome to apply to come to Hong Kong, involving many procedures. But I come still. I admire really Hong Kong, this land of freedom.”
On the other hand, he was fretting about being followed since he crossed the border on a sensitive day: “ I am worried about being monitored by the people from my party; worried that I would be caught upon returning home.” Any mention, or suggestive mention of the June 4 incident is banned in mainland China.