Tiananmen, 1989-2009

Emily Lau
4 June 2009

On 4 June 1989, I was working as the Hong Kong correspondent of the Far Eastern Economic Review. Like millions of Hong Kong people, I was devastated by the massacre in Beijing. I joined the countless demonstrations and protests. There was no doubt about it - the massacre rocked Hong Kong to its foundation. Many people donated money and blood to help the students on Tiananmen Square.

Twenty years later, many people still will not forgive nor forget the bloody crackdown. We demand a full investigation of the atrocities. People who were put into jail should be released; people who have been exiled should be allowed to return home; people who have suffered injustice should receive reparations and the culprits should be punished. Only then can China turn a new page.

The message from Hong Kong on 4 June 2009 is that the economic advances of these twenty years should not be used as a reason for overlooking the killings. The people of Hong Kong are not opposed to economic development, indeed they are in the forefront of it; but they believe this should be accompanied by political reforms and development. The people's basic human rights, the rule of law and clean government are universal core values which must be upheld.

Hong Kong is a city under Chinese rule and many people practice self-censorship because they dare not say or do things which may upset Beijing. However we can still hold candlelight vigils on every 4 June to commemorate the massacre. Long may we enjoy that freedom. We also hope that freedom and democracy will come to China soon.

Emily Lau is a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (Legco), representing The Frontier political group. Her website is here

Also by Emily Lau in openDemocracy:

"Hong Kong's long march to democracy" (14 March 2007)

"Tiananmen, 1989-2008" (4 June 2008)

Also on the events of 1989 in openDemocracy:

Jeffrey N Wasserstrom, "Tiananmen's shifting legacy" (26 June 2008)

Kerry Brown, "China's Tiananmen moment: the party rules" (3 June 2009)

Li Datong, "Tiananmen: the legacy of 1989" (3 June 2009)

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