IT WAS JUNE 4 AGAIN..

It was June 4 again. Like it is carried, the world carried intense debates and coverage over what happened on this day 26 years ago. Like China has always done since June 4, 1989, it did this as well, suppressing the voices on mainland, while trying to find ways to scuttle the Hong Kong protests that have become an annual feature.

Yes, if any symbolic Chinese element is present in the protests over Tiananmen Massacre (or incident, a political incident China would rather like to its people to believe), it is the annual Hong Kong vigil, organized to remember the victims of Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing’s iconic public square, a large arena.

China has, so far, been able to effectively killed democracy on the mainland and Tiananmen is its living proof and will remain so for the world. The autocracy has done it so successfully that majority of the Chinese now, including majority of its millennial generation born in good times of economic surge believe that Chinese politicians are taking right steps as a New York Times survey study finds.

Their concern is more of financial in nature than political and that is the success story of communist party of China so far. Chinese rulers know they will face problems from a slowing economy first. If any hope of democracy has to find its voice in China again, it will be only after the economy has failed, leading to increased poverty levels and a large impoverished class. That looks a far-fetched conclusion given the economic indicators now.

Even if China is slowing down, it is slated to be the world’s second largest economy. Also, the country will have the maximum share of the middle class population groups by 2021.

It is a large market for the world community to ignore, led by America and other rich and developed nations.

China knows it and exploits the gains suppressing democratic voices ruthlessly on the mainland. It is one of the compromises in China the world community is making.

And its efforts are reaching to Hong Kong now, the only vocal Chinese participation from China for hopes of democracy in the country. China is trying to undermine the democratic voices of Hong Kong targeting subtly the generation behind events like June 4 vigil or July 1 marches every year.

It is trying to do that by exporting mainland system on Hong Kong. Long duration protests were held last year against the Beijing decision to install a puppet pro-Beijing panel for 2017 Hong Kong elections using universal suffrage for the first time. All candidates who will be in fray will be pro-Beijing (chosen by them) and universal suffrage will be joke in that case. Protesters were demanding full democracy in the matter that, as expected, they did not get. After all, Xi Jinping is being referred to as the strongest Chinese President since Mao Zedong in the global media and it has to have its designs all over, including Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was under Britain for many decades and was handed over to China in 1997 with many conditions including preserving political and economic structure of the city state under ‘one country, two systems’.

China knows it cannot employ its mainland tactics here. China knows it cannot take the risk of subverting the agreement openly and ruthlessly suppress the voices of democracy in Hong Kong. But it can always do so, subtly and clandestinely, with ways like trying to changes text-books with mainland design or denying the people of Hong Kong to choose their own leader.

And it is on the job.

For the moment, Hong Kong stood once again with the world, especially the global media, on June 4, to remember the democratic victims of an autocratic China, hoping to withstand the Chinese might to demand genuine democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

I am sharing some of the images of the vigil protest by the media here giving due courtesy to the agencies.

HK-DALE DE LA REY -AFP - Getty Images
Image courtesy: Dale De La Rey-AFP-Getty Images

HK-GETTY IMAGE
Image courtesy: Getty Images

HK-Vincent Yu-AP
Image courtesy: Vincet Yu-AP

HK-VINCENT YU-ASSOCIATED PRESS
Image courtesy: Bobby Yip-Reuters

HK-WSJ
Image Courtesy: WSJ

25TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIANANMEN MASSACRE: SYMBOLISM OF HONG KONG VIGIL

HK-2
Associated Press photo

HK-3
Associated Press photo

These photographs of candlelight vigil taken from the websites of different news agencies are strong enough to push us to think the spark is still there. Yes, the spark has always been there and let’s hope it build silently and erupts when the day comes.

And the Chinese government, its ‘dictators’ and the ruling Communist party realise it as the pro-democracy activists and aspirants mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Protests and the Tiananmen Massacre.

The vigil night on June 4 yet again reaffirms the hope that in spite of the China’s efforts to suppress the voices of protests demanding political reforms and more space to democracy, they refuse to die. Though in minority when it comes to expressing, the voices are still strong enough to carry the symbolism of the fight that has always been there.

The silence voices and their collective voice on a day like this are symbolically strong enough to tell the world the flame is still burning, and some day, it will find its way, when the tanks and the armed soldiers would not be able to crush the dissent, these photographs of the Tiananmen Hong Kong Vigil from the Victoria Park tell us.

(Related post: https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/25th-anniversary-of-tiananmen-massacre-the-spark-is-still-there/ – 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIANANMEN MASSACRE: THE SPARK IS STILL THERE)

HK-4
Associated Press photo

HK-5-SCMP
South China Morning Post photo

HK-1-BB
Bloomberg photo

HK-6-SCMP
South China Morning Post photo

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

25TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIANANMEN MASSACRE: THE SPARK IS STILL THERE

It is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre and whatever China is doing (and has been doing) to suppress the voices of protests demanding political reforms and more space to democracy, the visuals of the annual ‘protest’ event in Hong Kong are symbolically strong enough to tell the world the flame is still burning, and some day, it will find its way, when the tanks and the armed soldiers would not be able to crush the dissent.

And it is something – the dissent – that every subsequent Chinese dictator has worked on tirelessly – to push away, as far as it can be, to the abyss, from where it would not be able to question the authority of the rule of the communist party.

The China that we know today as the economic powerhouse of the globe was never free politically if we assess it today on the benchmark of the universal norms of political freedom in a democratic set-up.

In fact, the political freedom and the related individual rights died in the world’s most populous country of the day on the day it got its freedom from the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Since then, it has been an open secret how China has consistently killed the voices of political dissent and demands of enhanced democratic rights. The Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Massacre tell us how ruthless the Chinese communist regime has been.

Also, the opening of economy that China started in late 1970s was very cunningly leveraged to buy out and dry out the demands of political freedom. It, in fact, was practiced at a much enhanced pace after the Tiananmen Protests.

Today, China is an economic superpower and is on the way to become the world’s largest economy.

Today, the world order cannot be expected and imagined without China.

And still, China is the same repressive regime that it was, during the Cultural Revolution and during May-June 1989, when thousands were killed by the party’s order.

China has done all to silence the pro-democracy voices and to erase the Tiananmen Square protests from the Chinese memory and history. Activists have been jailed. Many disappeared. Media is as free the ruling dispensation thinks to be. Masses have been forced to toe the line or have been co-opted.

But, with a large middle class, that is more educated, more connected to the world and professionally more aspiring, it is going to be difficult, once the dream of the ‘economic boom’ starts stagnating. That is bound to happen and then, it could be the ‘undoing’ of all that. It will take time but it is bound to come, because the spark is there and when it spreads to the millions of the voices, it will be unstoppable.

Reports say today was the strongest protest demonstration in terms of the number of protesters, around 1,80,000 (the New York Times says quoting the organizers), largest since 1989, a heartening sign for everyone except the Chinese ruling elite and its coterie.

What should be more worrying for the Chinese communist dictators is the youth participation, the youth born around and after the massacre of 1989. They are increasingly turning up in large numbers.

What should be more worrying for the Chinese communist party is a China that is more connected and more traceable in spite of the sophisticated monitoring machinery the government has. Had it not been so, we would have never known about the Wukan protests, about many self-immolations of Tibetan activists and about the Xinxiang riots.

The relatively free island of Hong Kong (in the People’s Republic of China) can become the symbolic beginning of the undoing as it has preserved the tradition of the vigil night revisiting the horror of the June 4, 1989 every year since 1989.

The protest visuals of vigil night today are strong enough to push us to think the spark is still there and ‘all was never lost’. In fact, it has always been there, protesting silently, with its spiral building up. And the Chinese government, its ‘dictators’ and the ruling Communist party realise it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/