Candles held aloft at Hong Kong's Victoria Park at a ceremony
remembering atrocities commited in Beijing 29 years ago
Patiently waiting for the candlelight vigil to begin
earlier in the evening
People reading posters set up in readiness
for this evening last night
For much of today, the skies were a threatening dark gray and when I left my apartment to meet up with friends with whom I would be going over to Victoria Park this evening, some rain was falling. By the time I got to our meeting point, however, there no longer was any precipitation in the air and the conditions turned out to be lovely weather-wise to spend outdoors this evening.
If only the reason why we were assembled in Victoria Park earlier tonight was a happy one. But rather than be festive or celebratory, we were there to mourn the dead: specifically, those idealists and innocents who sought to change their nation for the better one summer in Beijing 29 years ago and ended up paying the price for thinking not only that their time had come but also believing that the (so-called) People's Liberation Army would never turn its guns and tanks on its own countrymen and -women.
There are people out there who reckon that the annual commemorations are increasingly on the tired side. And it really is noticeably so that, with each passing year, not only the Tiananmen Mothers but also the witnesses to the Tiananmen Square massacre who deliver messages (sometimes live, other times on video) to those assembled at Victoria Park on the evening of June 4th are growing and looking increasingly old.
At the same time, those who get to thinking that the spirits of those seeking vindication and justice for the June 4th, 1989, massacre victims are weakening are very much mistaken. In fact, my sense is that, with each passing year, the resolve of people to carry on remembering, and also to resist the immoralities of the Communist Chinese government, actually gets hardened -- and this all the more so when it's so obviously the case that the persecutions have continued, claimed further victims (such as Liu Xiaobo) and are making martyrs of still more innocents (including Liu Xia).
To those who say that the Communists will never fall from power in China: I will (counter-)state with certainty that nothing lasts forever. Not the Qing dynasty or any other regime that has ruled the area currently occupied by China at any point in history. Not the regime of Robert Mugabe, whose 37 year rule over Zimbabwe came to an end late last year; nor the presidency of South Africa's Jacob Zuma, ousted after nine years this past February; nor -- perhaps most shockingly to my mind! -- the Barisan Nasional coalition government whose 60 year rule came to an end after being voted out in the Malaysian General Elections just last month!