China: Tiananmen vigil events across globe in solidarity with Hong Kong

  • AV materials available on 4 June, the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown
  • Events in cities including London, San Francisco and Seoul
  • Activists will demand justice for those killed in Beijing on 4 June 1989 and protest against the crackdown on Hong Kong’s annual vigil

Hong Kong’s suppressed Tiananmen vigil will be recreated around the world this June Fourth as people in more than 20 cities light candles in remembrance of those killed in the 1989 Beijing crackdown.

The annual Hong Kong event ran for more than 30 years but has been banned since 2020 amid increased repression in the city. Amnesty International is organizing a series of global candlelight vigils and other events to continue to demand justice and show solidarity for Hong Kong.  

“The Chinese government’s concerted efforts to erase the Tiananmen crackdown from history have spread to Hong Kong since the national security law was enacted in the city in 2020. But the atrocities of 4 June 1989 must never be forgotten,” said Hana Young, Amnesty International’s East Asia Deputy Regional Director.

“This June Fourth, people will come together across the world to remember those killed in Beijing 33 years ago, and to stand in solidarity with those in Hong Kong whose peaceful acts of commemoration are now criminalized.”

For three decades, Hong Kong hosted the world’s biggest commemoration of the Tiananmen crackdown: when hundreds – possibly thousands – of people were killed as Chinese troops opened fire on students and workers who had been peacefully calling for political and economic reforms as well as an end to corruption.

Every year on 4 June since 1990, as many as hundreds of thousands of people joined a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to remember those killed. They called on the Chinese authorities to reveal the truth about what happened and take accountability for the fatalities. The vigil has been banned for the past two years, ostensibly on Covid-19 grounds.

The organizer of the vigil, the Hong Kong Alliance, was forced to disband in September 2021 after coming under increasing pressure since the enactment of Hong Kong’s national security law in June 2020. Several of its senior figures are currently in jail.

The Alliance is one of several prominent civil society organizations forced to fold since last year after being targeted by the Hong Kong police on national security grounds.

On this year’s 33rd anniversary of the deadly crackdown, vigils and related events – organized by Amnesty International and other groups – will instead take place in cities including San Francisco, Washington DC, Seoul, Taipei, Ulaanbaatar, Sydney, Oslo, Paris, Amsterdam and London.

“The simple act of lighting a candle for Tiananmen has become a crime in Hong Kong, just as it has been in mainland China for more than 30 years. But history cannot be erased and activism will never be silenced,” Hana Young said.

“Just as Hongkongers once stood in solidarity with the victims of Tiananmen, the rest of the world now stands with the people of Hong Kong to the deliver the same message: that repression will not be tolerated anywhere.”