Friday, June 06, 2008

Candlelight Vigil - 19th Anniversary of June 4th 1989

It's painful to recall, but it's never to be forgotten.....


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Mike and I went to the Candlelight Vigil for the 19th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989.


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This is held annually in Victoria Park to commemorate the thousands of Chinese students who were killed in the June 4th Massacre in China in 1989, and express our eagerness for democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law.


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The June Fourth Incident



It all started with a number of peaceful protests led by Chinese students in April of 1989. They wanted the Chinese government to reform, to clean up the corrupt bureaucracy, calling for democracy & human rights. The Chinese government ignored the protesters.


The protest gained momentum in a short period of time. More and more students and other activists joined, but the protesters remained non-violent. They gathered in Tienanmen Square in Beijing. 3000+ students started to starve themselves to try to call for the government attention. As the starved students grew weaker and weaker due to the lack of food and water intake, the Chinese government continued to ignore their request. This provoked even more people to join the students.


In late May, workers, farmers, police, teachers, parents, and intellectuals all sided with the students. The Chinese government was forced to talk to the student representatives; however, nothing resolved after their meeting. Large scale protests were happening in 20+ provinces throughout China, in addition to the main one in Beijing.


On June 4h, the government took a desperate action to "quiet down" the much-overheat protesting voice - a total military crackdown - Solders, with tanks, guns and other weapons, were ordered to "disperse" the protesters from Tienanmen Square. The military crackdown left thousands of students dead and even more injured.


After the massacre, the government also conducted widespread arrests for surviving protesters and their supporters, killed all remaining protesting voice in China, banned all foreign press from entering and erased all national coverage of the massacre. Many of the protesters caught from the protest back then were still in prison today.



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When it happened that year.....


I was just a very little girl when it all happened in 1989. I was too little to understand what democracy means, or what freedom stands for. But I definitely remembered how the whole city was in extreme grief during that time.



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People watched news everyday and night to find out what was going on in Tienanmen Square. Countless tears were shed watching how students were killed by the tanks, the army, the government....



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In my little mind, I didn't totally understand what was going on at that time, but I would never forget that year, that day, that massacre...




Natural Disasters v.s. Human-caused Disasters


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The vigil this year was also about the victims from the earthquake on May 12th.


Yes, the earthquake was sad and caused way too many innocent lives. But at least it was natural disaster after all.


But what about disasters caused by people? Or even by the government?



Yes, since the earthquake happened, the Chinese central government has been doing everything they can to rescue and help the earthquake victims.


But....


If the 7000+ schools and hospitals were built properly by the local government or the responsible organizations in the first place, would so many innocent children and people die as a result of improper construction??! As a result of the so-called "tofu-residue" construction!!!





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What about the students protesters back then? Was it really so wrong to protest peacefully to voice out their concern? Was democracy and freedom really so expensive in our country that our students had to pay the high price of LIFE for it???!!!



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During the Candlelight Vigil


It rained during part of the candlelight vigil.


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Instead of leaving, we took out their umbrella to block the rain from putting out the candle fire, which represents our respect and remembrance of the students who shed their blood in exchange for a call for democracy, for freedom, 19 years ago.



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We raised our candlelight up high and waved, while singing the June Fourth memorial song, Blood (血染的風采),



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I cried.


I hope generations and generations of our people will not forget the June Fourth historical event. It's only through learning what really did happen in our history that we can become better and stronger, as an individual, as a nation.



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And I'd like to pay my sincere regards to the students, for their self-less act 19 years ago. I hope that all of them, their families and loved ones will find comfort and continue to live bravely.



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It's painful to recall, but it's never to be forgotten.....



3 comments:

Alex said...

1st, your blog page description needs to be updated since you're back in HK already

2nd, I do remember 6/4 vividly since I helped my mom to grab the newspaper that morning. Every year, those images pop in my mind. I do get very emotional. Besides the students, I remember Zhao ZiYan, who died recently. Economically, China is a growing power. But, when will we, the Chinese, have our voice heard; when can we get democracy?

Statue of democracy may have fallen 19 years ago, her spirit lives on in many of us.

Caroline said...

Alex,
Oh my gosh... haven't heard from u FOREVER!! How r u?? =) We miss you here!!! (And you still haven't introduced ur pretty wife to me yet!!) ^_~


Regarding ur comments -

1st - I really don't know where "home" is for me, especially with the disappointing political climate recently in HK/China. So as far as I am concerned, I am still "abroad"! ;)

2nd - I am very glad that somebody in my generation (and also overseas) still remember and care about 6/4!! It's so sad when I read on the news how young people nowadays think that the students at that time were too radical and that the Chinese government did the right thing at that time. That was totally BULLSHIT!!!!

I hope someday, like you said, democracy and freedom will truly be understood, recognized and valued by our government and every single one of us - as a nation, and as an individual.

Anonymous said...

呵呵,你还不是太了解中国的情况啊~