There are many indicators that one has turned into a Hongkonger. One of them is the alacrity at which one jumps to press the “door close” button of an elevator. Another is June 4.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the bloody government crackdown on student protestors in China on June 4, 1989. In Hong Kong, every year the day has been commemorated by a march and a candlelight vigil by thousands of people. In China, of which Hong Kong is now a part, the memory of June 4 is repressed. In Hong Kong, it is amplified.
June 4 confirmed Hongkongers worst fears about the CCP and caused many Hongkongers to flee to other countries in the face of the impending handover of Hong Kong to China. While these fears with regard to Hong Kong have not come true in a bloody way, other forms of insidious control are becoming more apparent and have given rise to new fears and resistance in Hong Kong.
The June 4 vigil in Hong Kong is a way of remembering, of expressing solidarity with those who lost loves ones in the massacre, of demanding justice and a review of those events. It is also an exercise of the still-existent right to freedom of speech in Hong Kong. The protest also has a political colour as Hong Kong is in the throes of its own battle for promised universal suffrage. There are those who say that the vigil has become a hollow performance, but I see its worth as a tradition of protest.
As for me, I haven’t been to the candlelight vigil, though I might go some year. However, it has become a day for me to remember, to read about the events of that period and to reflect. History holds lessons for us all. I only had a vague idea of June 4 before I came to Hong Kong, but now it is an important day to me, like for many Hongkongers.