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David Yan

5 events in Hong Kong commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown

Thirty years on, the events of June 4, 1989, still resonate

Written by
Time Out editors
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For many people in Hong Kong, June 4 is a complicated date. It’s a reminder of how life has changed since the crackdown on activists in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the Chinese military raised arms against its own citizens and brutally put down the democracy movement, as well as how democratic values have eroded in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Some commemorate the date as a way to show solidarity with democracy activists in China. Others use the moment to focus their energy on Hong Kong’s own issues with democracy. 

This June 4 marks 30 years since the violent end to China’s democracy movement. While the incident remains notoriously taboo in the mainland, Hong Kong residents have commemorated the Tiananmen Square massacre with a candlelight vigil every year since 1990. This year will be no different, but there are several other important events happening around Hong Kong as well. Here's what you need to know about this June 4.  

5 events commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown

  • Attractions
  • Causeway Bay

Since 1990, Hongkongers have commemorated the Tiananmen Square crackdown with a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. In recent years, the event has become something of a flash point. Increasingly estranged from their counterparts in the mainland, young activists have instead focused their ire and energy on the decaying state of democracy in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, this is still the largest commemorative event in Hong Kong (if not the world), with tens of thousands in attendance each year. The vigil starts at 8pm and ends about two hours later, but try to arrive by 7:30pm to get a relatively good standing space. 

  • Attractions
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

For precisely the reasons written above, there is a second vigil being held in front of the Freedom Fighter Monument at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. While similarly commemorating the Tiananmen dead, this vigil diverges from the one in Victoria Park in its ultimate goal: rather than advocating for democracy in China, the organisers are calling for the safeguarding of democracy in Hong Kong. The vigil begins at 8.30pm, giving you the opportunity to attend both if you so wish. 

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June 4th Museum
  • Things to do
  • Mong Kok

The oft-maligned June 4th Museum reopened in a commercial building in Mong Kok this April, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. The only museum in the world dedicated to the events of June 4, 1989, this space is a living reminder of those who lost their lives for freedom in China, the democracy movement itself and the power of censorship today. The museum is open 12pm-6pm daily.

June 4th Exhibition at CUHK
  • Things to do
  • Sha Tin

Until June 7, the Chinese University of Hong Kong is hosting a bilingual exhibition detailing the historical events surrounding the Tiananmen Square incident. Organised by the joint student union, the exhibition displays a timeline with detailed descriptions of the events leading up to the fall of the democracy movement. Through this medium, they hope to reveal the tie that binds Tiananmen to CUHK students today.

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  • Things to do
  • Aberdeen

On June 4, ABC Australia is premiering an hour-long documentary on Chinese cartoonist Badiucao and his politically charged work. While you probably can't catch it on TV, you can watch it at The Hive Spring in Wong Chuk Hang on June 10, thanks to the Hong Kong Free Press. The documentary follows the artist in the lead-up to his cancelled Hong Kong debut and demonstrates how he goes to great lengths to conceal his identity. The movie starts at 8.15pm. Afterwards, there will be a Q&A session, including director Danny Ben-Moshe and Badiucao himself (both appearing via Skype). Tickets are limited to 100.

Further reading

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