The SAR government’s suppression of the June Fourth Candlelight Vigil in one fell swoop was another halt to decades of mourning activities, but oppression and resistance were born together, and from the moment the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China was forced to stop holding the June Fourth rally, mourning activities were given a new meaning, from a ritualistic tribute to the anniversary to a real struggle against forgetfulness through memory.
When the epidemic prevention expert Yuan Guoyong and even the capital announced the end of the fourth wave of the epidemic and the police banned the rally on the grounds of epidemic prevention, which was also endorsed by the Appeal Board of Public Meetings and Processions, it means that the epidemic has been cleared and the public rally cannot go back to the old days because the approving authority will not consider that epidemic prevention and the rally can co-exist, such as strengthening the epidemic prevention measures for the rally (e.g. masks, social distance, reducing the number of people), and will not allow the candlelight vigils be held.
It is said that the Court of Final Appeal has already pointed out that the government has the obligation to make proper arrangements to ensure that the public can exercise their basic human rights. Now that the rally has been rejected year after year, the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, Mr. Andrew Cheung, who feels uneasy about the rule of law in Hong Kong, might as well broaden his horizons and think about how the government’s ban on the rally has undermined human rights and the rule of law, instead of watching the public criticize the judges for affecting public confidence in the rule of law.
In fact, the authorities’ use of public power to cancel the June 4 rally reflects that those in power are not convinced of the June 4 tragedy in order to change the public’s mind about the forceful suppression of the pro-democracy movement back then. Thirty-two years later, most Hong Kong people are still convinced of the innocence of the 1989 pro-democracy movement and the justification of anti-corruption and anti-corruption, and that the annual June 4 candlelight vigil, even though it is only a peaceful gathering to commemorate the deceased, is the best they can do to show their stand for justice. Only in this way can we hope to hold the perpetrators accountable and then change course to embark on the road to democracy and prosperity. Over the years, Hong Kong people are like soft candlelight, although they are powerless to change the external environment, but a little bit of light together, can always illuminate the darkness of the Victoria Park, building an invisible but not fallen moral benchmark.
Over time, the Victoria Park candlelight vigil has become a spiritual force, the police may be able to extinguish the candlelight, but can not stop its legacy. It doesn’t matter that this year’s rally at the Victoria Park was allegedly illegal, it doesn’t matter, there is no big stage day, so we have to find a legal space, each in their own way, continue to mourn June 4, we each do their best, to share their voices, even if they are on their own side, but in different corners of society to accompany each other, with small but firm action, will be passed on faith.
For more than 30 years, the June Fourth Candlelight Vigil was more of a tribute than a protest, and the five platforms of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKASPDMC) were more of an appeal than a shout, but never an action. But with the authorities banning the June 4 rally after the epidemic, the situation was not good and the future of the candlelight vigil was uncertain. This challenge, however, ironically gives a new meaning to the mourning activities. In the face of the high wall, civil mourning will not only be reduced to pieces, but will also become a struggle of memory against forgetting and truth against lies.
The official advances also help the opposition forces to assemble and bring the democrats closer to the local faction. In the past, most of the local faction did not care about the June 4 memorial activities, or even resented them. However, with the banning of the candlelight vigil, the peaceful rallies representing the memorial of historical events cannot be retained, and there are hardly any exceptions for other protest activities, so the space for civil activities is bound to be tightened.
Since the end of May, many methods of mourning have been circulating on the Internet, all of which show the wisdom of the people, so there is no need to go into details here. Generally speaking, people have been paying tribute to the 1989 pro-democracy movement and the victims through different channels in a lawful manner, openly declaring their own positions to show the public’s support, and there is no way for the government to stop the messages of condolence from different corners.
More importantly, the memorial tributes are not limited to the period before and after June 4, nor are they limited to political statements. In order to refuse to forget and to guard the truth, many people are rushing to organize the history in a more effective way, so that the public and the next generation can have a clearer understanding of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, its causes and consequences, and through the history of the pro-democracy movement to gain a deeper understanding of China’s development and problems, prospects and hopes. The June 4 rally may not come again, but this history will never disappear.
Some people are convinced that commemorating June 4 is not only a way to look back on the past and hold people accountable in order to demonstrate justice, but also a way to pass on June 4, to live out history, and to pursue a life of dignity. In short, June 4 is not only for commemoration, but also an unfinished dream of the Chinese people. Hong Kong people have taken up the baton of history, not only to perform the ritual every year, but also to persevere for democracy.
The survival of the candlelight vigil has stimulated a wealth of thinking and imagination in the struggle, even if it does not change the obscure situation, but we are not ashamed of it, anyway, we are not changed by the situation.