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News: Hong Kong protesters predict large turnout at June 4 Tiananmen protest

Hong Kong protesters predict large turnout at June 4 Tiananmen protest
(AFP)

30 May 2005 

HONG KONG - Organisers of next week’s annual Hong Kong vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, the only such demonstration on Chinese soil, said Monday they expect a huge turnout despite a poor showing at a weekend protest.

Police estimate that just 1,000 people joined a march Sunday in memory of the June 4, 1989 event, when Chinese troops brutally crushed a month-long pro-democracy student demonstration in the heart of the Chinese capital.

Nonetheless, organiser Lee Cheuk-yan said he believed next week’s candle-lit remembrance vigil in the former British colony will attract more than 50,000 people.

“It’s not important to look at the number of people that attend but the fact that 16 years after the crackdown, many people still attend at all,” Lee told AFP.

“The movement has not lost steam. We are very proud that Hong Kong still observes the anniversary. We have shown that we have a spirit of persistence.”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters were gunned down in the 1989 crackdown, one of the bleakest days in recent Chinese history.

In the face of international condemnation, China has never acknowledged the atrocities.

Instead it insists the heavy-handed response to what it called a ”counter-revolutionary rebellion” paved the way for 16 years of robust economic growth.

Pro-democracy activists and sympathisers have held candle vigils in Hong Kong on each anniversary since, calling for official recognition of the brutality and demanding the release of jailed protesters. They have also held marches ahead of the gatherings.

Some 80,000 people turned up for last year’s vigil, marking the 15th anniversary, and more than 5,000 people attended that weekend march.

Lee put Sunday’s poor turnout down to the changed political climate this year, which has seen antagonism towards China dip.

Last year’s events came at a politically charged time, weeks after Beijing issued a ruling that stymied hopes for swift democratic reforms.

Weeks later more than 500,000 people took to the streets to protest against the ruling.

“Last year was a landmark anniversary — the 15th,” he said. ”That brought more people in.”

Hong Kong protesters predict large turnout at June 4 Tiananmen protest
(AFP)

30 May 2005 

HONG KONG - Organisers of next week’s annual Hong Kong vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, the only such demonstration on Chinese soil, said Monday they expect a huge turnout despite a poor showing at a weekend protest.

Police estimate that just 1,000 people joined a march Sunday in memory of the June 4, 1989 event, when Chinese troops brutally crushed a month-long pro-democracy student demonstration in the heart of the Chinese capital.

Nonetheless, organiser Lee Cheuk-yan said he believed next week’s candle-lit remembrance vigil in the former British colony will attract more than 50,000 people.

“It’s not important to look at the number of people that attend but the fact that 16 years after the crackdown, many people still attend at all,” Lee told AFP.

“The movement has not lost steam. We are very proud that Hong Kong still observes the anniversary. We have shown that we have a spirit of persistence.”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters were gunned down in the 1989 crackdown, one of the bleakest days in recent Chinese history.

In the face of international condemnation, China has never acknowledged the atrocities.

Instead it insists the heavy-handed response to what it called a ”counter-revolutionary rebellion” paved the way for 16 years of robust economic growth.

Pro-democracy activists and sympathisers have held candle vigils in Hong Kong on each anniversary since, calling for official recognition of the brutality and demanding the release of jailed protesters. They have also held marches ahead of the gatherings.

Some 80,000 people turned up for last year’s vigil, marking the 15th anniversary, and more than 5,000 people attended that weekend march.

Lee put Sunday’s poor turnout down to the changed political climate this year, which has seen antagonism towards China dip.

Last year’s events came at a politically charged time, weeks after Beijing issued a ruling that stymied hopes for swift democratic reforms.

Weeks later more than 500,000 people took to the streets to protest against the ruling.

“Last year was a landmark anniversary — the 15th,” he said. ”That brought more people in.”

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