HKU students' union to hold "alternative" June 4 vigil

HKU students' union to hold "alternative" June 4 vigil

This year, there will be two Hong Kong vigils for the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, because some disagree with the sentiment of the group that organises the annual gathering in Victoria Park

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 Billy Fung Jing-en (centre), President of the Hong Kong University Students' Union announces details of its very own June 4 vigil.
Billy Fung Jing-en (centre), President of the Hong Kong University Students' Union announces details of its very own June 4 vigil.
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

For the first time ever, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) student union will hold its own public assembly to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. According to union president Billy Fung Jing-en, the union's assembly would be "Hong Kong-oriented", with a seminar discussing the city's democratic future.

Fung also said all 18 members of the union's current affairs committee decided that this year they will separate from the June 4 vigil organiser, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

The alliance has strong links with pan-democratic politicians, and one of its guiding visions for the annual vigil is to "build a democratic China".

The committee says it prefers to shape the city's politics according to a Hong Kong perspective, as opposed to adopting a nationalistic stance - two diverging approaches that have divided society.

"We don't agree with its view that if the mainland has no democracy, Hongkongers should give up all hope for democracy," Fung said earlier this week.

Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan said that while he respected the union's decision, there was "nothing wrong" with the ideal of building a democratic China. He's also not worried about a drop in attendance.

The student unions from four other universities, including Chinese University, would give speeches at Victoria Park, he said.

Ching Cheong, a former Straits Times journalist once jailed on the mainland for allegedly spying for Taiwan, would also attend to show solidarity with outspoken reporter Gao Yu , 71, who has been jailed on the mainland for the third time in her life, for "leaking state secrets".

The HKU union is expecting 1,000 to 1,500 people, including members of the public, to join their "alternative" vigil, which will be help on the campus in Pok Fu Lam.

Unlike the Victoria Park vigil, participants will not be led in song or chants, Fung said. Instead, videos of the crackdown and last year's Occupy movement will be shown.

Meanwhile, the alliance said while the topic of Occupy will come up at Victoria Park, the focus will be on those people arrested on the mainland for backing the civil disobedience sit-ins.

Hong Kong is the only place in China where the public commemoration of June 4 is not prohibited.

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