Heavy security measures placed in Hong Kong over June 4th anniversary.

Hong Kong boosted security around a park on Sunday (Jun 4) where tens of thousands of people used to gather for an annual memorial of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, ensuring no protests on the event’s 34th anniversary.

Hong Kongers would once converge on Victoria Park and its surrounding Causeway Bay neighbourhood to commemorate the events of Jun 4, 1989, often taking part in candlelight vigils.

This weekend, the park hosted a “hometown carnival fair” organised by pro-Beijing groups, while scores of police deployed in the adjacent Causeway Bay shopping district searched shoppers and quickly removed performance artists and activists.

Four people were arrested on Sunday for “seditious” acts and “disorderly conduct”, and another four were detained on suspicion of breaching the peace.

AFP saw artist Sanmu Chen chant “Don’t forget Jun 4!” before he was bundled into a police bus.

Discussion of the Tiananmen crackdown is highly sensitive to China’s communist leadership, and commemoration is forbidden on the mainland.

The government sent troops and tanks to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 to break up peaceful protests, brutally crushing a weeks-long wave of demonstrations calling for political change.

Hundreds – by some estimates, more than 1,000 – were killed.

For decades, Hong Kong was the only Chinese city with a large-scale commemoration of the incident – a key index of the liberties and political pluralism afforded by its semi-autonomous status.

But the Victoria Park vigil has been banned since 2020, the year Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law to quell dissent after massive, and at times violent, pro-democracy protests.

Wong, a 53-year-old who provided only her last name, praised the atmosphere of the fair at Victoria Park, but when asked about the vigil, said it was an event of the past.

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