On June 4, 1969, Chinese troops attacked pro-democracy protesters around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. No official death toll has been released yet, but rights groups estimate that hundreds have been killed, if not thousands.
Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where large memorials are held for the occasion. Candlelight surveillance has been held at Victoria Park in Hong Kong every year since 1990, and recent events have attracted thousands of participants.
An official letter shared with CNN said police would not allow this year’s rally to go ahead, citing a coronavirus ban on gatherings of people over eight years old.
The law, which will be imposed on the city by Beijing in the next few weeks, criminalizes secession, sedition and disaster, and could face sanctions from countries hosting the annual Tiananmen Rally, urging the Hong Kong Alliance to support the patriotic democratic movement in China.
The Coalition already called on people through candlelight vigils and small-to-large gatherings sitting in people’s homes not to violate coronavirus restrictions, extending it worldwide.
“In memory of the students and civilians killed by the military during the June 4 genocide, where civilians could not fast for a day, and in memory of all those who died in the global epidemic, the Communist Party blocked privacy and information,” the group said in a statement.
“Wherever public action is possible, citizens can light candles outside Chinese agencies or any other suitable government place at 5 a.m. and observe a minute of silence at 8:09 a.m., both to remember the death and demand accountability.”
With the coronavirus ban extended to June 4, the chances of banning the annual assembly were great. But next year, even after the epidemic ended as expected, it remains to be seen whether the National Security Act will prevent any memorable events at all.