Tiananmen Mothers said remembering June 4 is a patriotic act and should not be banned on political grounds.
“I understand and respect authorities’ decision to ban the memorial on public health grounds, but it would be unacceptable if it is due to other reasons unrelated to the pandemic,” the group’s spokeswoman You Weijie said.
“A candlelight vigil commemorating the June 4 incident does not have any conflict with the national security law, as it is a patriotic behavior, as everyone should condemn the government back then for blatantly trampling upon the law,” she added.
A founding member of the group, Zhang Xianling, said she had already expected the SAR government to ban the memorial one day.
“When memorials are held in Hong Kong, it is a chip in Beijing’s shoulder, but there is nothing the Central Government can do due to one country, two systems. But now authorities have the pandemic as an excuse, and they can cancel it easily,” Zhang said.
But Zhang said she has faith in Hong Kong people: “Perhaps the candlelight vigil can’t be held, but I believe in the hearts of Hong Kong people there will always be a candlelight, a righteous candlelight.”
Meanwhile, Hongkongers are urged to commemorate the 1989 incident with their own ways, including lighting candles at the window or on the street today after the annual vigil is banned.
Former chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China Lee Cheuk-yan, who is currently serving a 18-month jail sentence for taking part in unlawful assemblies in October 2019, made a call on his social media page for Hongkongers to light candles “in places that can be seen.”
“Hong Kong is undergoing controls and manipulations similar to those in the mainland. Hongkongers have never been that close to the June 4 incident,” Lee said.