Call to end Tiananmen Square commemoration ‘not cold-blooded’

Hong Kong student leader defends call to stop vigil in honour of victims of 1989 pro-democracy protests

June 14, 2017
Source: istock

Student leaders at a Hong Kong university have been branded “cold-blooded” for calling for an end to commemorations of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

On the 28th anniversary of the pro-democracy protests in Beijing, the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s student union issued a statement saying the time to publicly remember the 1989 event had come to an end, the South China Morning Post reported on 5 June.

It came as Hong Kong’s Victoria Park was lit up by a sea of candles on 4 June – the only large-scale commemoration of the crackdown on the student-led protests, which left hundreds dead, held on Chinese soil.

The student union also accused the vigil’s organiser, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, of turning the event into a ritual and “making use of the public’s moral sentiment to build up its political capital”, the Post said.

Alumni and students from the Chinese university said their union was “ignorant”, “cold-blooded” and “lazy” to issue the statement, but the union stood by its comments.

“I don’t feel I am cold-blooded,” union president Au Tze-ho told a Commercial Radio programme on 5 June, adding “there was no need to organise an event for collective mourning”.

While he recognised that 4 June was a “very important event for Hong Kong” and he had “no problem with you mourning the deaths personally”, the union felt it had to “take issue with the format of the commemoration”.

jack.grove@timeshighereducation.com

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