China reprised its annual crackdown on people marking the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen Square massacre on Sunday by closing off access to the site in Beijing and detaining 32 people in Hong Kong.
Authorities hauled in demonstrators in and around Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, traditionally the venue for candlelit vigils in remembrance of the hundreds or thousands — the exact number is unknown — of people killed in an onslaught of army tanks and infantry.
Back in Beijing, security was amped up around Tiananmen Square itself, even beyond the security checks that are normally in place.
Seven weeks of protests led by students, joined by workers, artists and other dissidents ended in bloodshed overnight on June 3 to 4, 1989 as military vehicles and infantry mowed down protesters in Beijing’s central square, killing an untold number of people.
China has quashed any attempts at discussion or acknowledgement of that event, strictness that has overflowed into Hong Kong, the last Chinese-controlled territory to publicly commemorate the massacre.
On the eve of the anniversary, eight people were detained, and late Sunday a woman was arrested for allegedly obstructing police officers performing their duties. Another 23 people were accused of breaching public peace and were undergoing further investigation, Chinese authorities said.
One of them was the prominent activist Alexandra Wong, 67, known as “Grandma Wong,” BBC News reported. She was picked up as she walked near Victoria Park with a flower bouquet. Another was Chan Po Ying, leader of the opposition League of Social Democrats political party, nabbed with two flowers and an LED candle.
Despite the Chinese government’s insistence on suppressing any mention of the massacre, protesters in Hong Kong have defied bans, including in the wake of a 2020 national security law that in effect forbid anyone from holding memorial events. Pressure even overflows international boundaries, with the Communist Party and other government operatives harassing people abroad.
With News Wire Services
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