HONG KONG - Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong were preparing for a candlelight vigil on Tuesday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown, underscoring concern for Chinese human rights in the semi-autonomous territory, even as its own civil liberties are under threat.
Hong Kong is the only region under Beijing's jurisdiction that holds significant public commemorations of the 1989 crackdown and memorials for its victims. Hong Kong has a degree of freedom not seen on the mainland as a legacy of British rule that ended in 1997.
The annual event beginning at 8pm at Hong Kong's Victoria Park near the bustling Causeway Bay shopping district is expected to attract tens of thousands of participants.
This year's vigil will feature a replica of the "Goddess of Democracy", a plaster sculpture of a female figure holding a torch that was displayed in Tiananmen Square in the days leading up to the 1989 crackdown, which took place on the night of June 3-4 and is believed to have killed hundreds and possibly thousands of people.
"That statue was crushed by tanks at the June 4 crackdown, the June 4 massacre. So we are rebuilding this here ... to symbolise that we are still continuing to fight for democracy, and continue on the spirit of the '89 democratic protests," said Chow Hang Tung, vice-chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which organizes the annual vigil.