He Qinglian: The veterans never die, and the spirit of Hong Kong’s freedom lives on

It is the 32nd anniversary of June 4. 2021 is a different year in Hong Kong, as the June 4 commemoration, which has continued for 31 years, is forcibly banned in the horrific atmosphere of the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law. However, the figure of Uncle Wah and the candlelight of the June 4 memorial in Victoria Park became a scenery of free Hong Kong that will forever remain in the memory of generations.

Such commemorative meetings are precious to China, as this is the only piece of land under the Chinese Communist Party where June 4 commemorative activities can be held publicly since the event took place. But since last year, Hong Kong authorities have banned the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China from holding candlelight rallies in Victoria Park, citing epidemic prevention as the reason. This year, on June 4 again, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security Li Ka-chiu urged the public not to participate in unauthorized related activities and sternly warned that no one should participate in, publicize or announce the rally in question, otherwise it would be illegal. Recent court rulings on two public events in Hong Kong clearly show that participation in unauthorized assemblies, whether violent or not, is an offence punishable by up to five years in prison.

Power may prohibit the people of Hong Kong from assembling, but it cannot erase the history of June 4, 1989, which has lived on in three ways.

It was the first time since the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party that young students, intellectuals and citizens across China consciously united to launch a large-scale political movement with the demand for democracy, and the participation of the people was unprecedentedly broad.

It blossomed in China, but it bore fruit in the international community. The June 4 massacre spread around the world through various means of communication, such as television and fax, and showed people in the Soviet Union, Central and Eastern European socialist countries the ferocity of communist dictatorship, facilitating the dramatic political changes that led to the overthrow of communist regimes by the opposition in each country.

It dissolved the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party. Before June 4, even after the end of the Cultural Revolution, the CCP did everything in the name of the people. Since the June 4 massacre, the Chinese people know that under the CCP, the regime has nothing to do with the people.

Hong Kong people will mourn in their own way

The rally of Hong Kong people to commemorate June 4 not only carries the dream of freedom and the obsession of Hong Kong people for the pursuit of democracy, but also reflects the sense of responsibility of Hong Kong people: to let the world not forget June 4 and to walk firmly on the path of the pursuit of democracy, commemorating the dead is the best way to remind them. The undying candlelight in Victoria Park expresses the wish of Hong Kong people. I believe that what Democratic Party Chairman Law Kin-hei said to the media will definitely come true: the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKASPDMC), democrats and many citizens have strong feelings about the June Fourth Incident, and I believe that Hong Kong people will mourn the June Fourth Incident in their own way, no matter what choice the HKASPDMC ultimately makes.

The situation of Hong Kong today and the determination of Hong Kong people remind me of a past incident from my trip to Hawaii in 2000. On that occasion, I went to visit the Battleship Arizona Memorial and happened to meet six veterans who were gathered there. After reading the introduction, I learned that since the end of World War II, there were more than 100 survivors of the sunken battleship in Pearl Harbor, and they agreed to meet at the USS Arizona one day a year to sing the old military song “Veterans Don’t Die” – General MacArthur’s famous speech at the Capitol on April 19, 1951, with The Old Soldier Never Dies. With the passage of time, the veterans of the battleship are fading, and some of the surviving ones need to be accompanied by the next generation to come. However, for the sake of their common past, but also for the sake of this period of human beings, especially the United States can not forget the disaster, they still use their own actions to practice General MacArthur’s speech in that widely known quote “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away. “

MacArthur, with his corncob pipe in his mouth, is remembered for his service in World War II. But time has the same erosive effect on everyone and everything, and great men will age. The world has changed many times since I took the oath of office on the coaching field at West Point, and my hopes and dreams have long since faded, but I still remember one of the most popular military lyrics of the time, proclaiming with great pride that ‘veterans never die, they just fade away. .”

A rose is a rose after all, even if only one or two petals and stalks remain, it still reminds the world of the beauty and splendor it once had. All those who witnessed June 4, all those who held commemorative activities at the ends of the earth, and the people of Hong Kong who have persevered the longest, will one day, like the veterans on the Arizona battleship, gradually withdraw from the center of the political arena, but the veterans will never die and the spirit of June 4 will live on.

The veterans are not dead.