The attack was in connection with the celebration of Masses for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989, the number of which is not known with exactitude, but which probably numbered 3,000.
Since that tragic date, the Chinese government has worked to remove all traces of its misdeeds. Thus, in mainland China, a large part of the youth ignores this June 4, 1989 event, which cannot be found on the Chinese web or in history books.
It even fades from the memory of the elderly, who do not want to remember it, so great is the pressure exerted on public conscience and the fear of repression.
For three decades, however, while any commemoration of the massacre was banned in China, it remained permitted in Hong Kong, including after the 1997 handover.
Each year, tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took part in a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of the bloody repression of the “Beijing Spring,” gathered in Victoria Park.
But now, even in Hong Kong it is no longer allowed to remember. Last year the commemoration was canceled due to the health crisis. A few thousand people had defied the ban: several of them are currently in prison.
This year, again using the Covid pretext, the celebration was banned. But now, by the magic of the new National Security Law, those who want to participate in a celebration of the massacre face up to 5 years in prison.
It is even forbidden, on June 4, to be dressed in black and to carry a candle. Thus, Chow Hang Tung, one of the organizers of the gatherings of the past years, who was still at large, was arrested for trying to light a candle in Victoria Park.
Seven parishes in Hong Kong had planned to celebrate a Mass in commemoration of the Tiananmen massacre, on the evening of Friday, June 4, at 8 p.m., when, for thirty-one years, Hong Kong people have gathered en masse in Victoria Park.
This ceremony being prohibited, as we have seen, these churches became the last bastions of this commemoration that Beijing seeks to stifle by any means.
Thus, on the night of June 2-3, large banners appeared in front of the entrances to these churches, bearing vengeful slogans: “Sects are invading the faith. The antichrist and the false prophets arise. Under the guise of worshiping God, they incite chaos. They divide religion and have their hands covered with fresh blood.”
The impostor or “antichrist” is a reference to Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) slayer, a poster depicts the Cardinal with a yellow face and next to him is a religious figure decked out as a devil with horns and a tail. A final warning signals the intention of this campaign: “Christians, be careful that you not be brought in to violation of the national security law!”
Masses were finally able to take place, under increased police surveillance, with any explicit reference to the Tiananmen massacre being avoided. However, the names of the 187 known victims were read at the start of all Masses, but the candlelight procession which was to close the ceremony had to be canceled.
But how long will Beijing tolerate the Hong Kong Church being the last refuge of memory?