Tiananmen Square crackdown amid coronavirus is about candles and online vigils

Updated: Jun 04, 2020, 11:15 AM(IST)

In 1989, on this day, the Chinese troops opened fired on thousand of people who had gathered  in and around central Beijing's Tiananmen Square to demonstrate in favour of democracy. Every year, people carry out marches and vigils to pay respects to the ones who lost their lives.

This year, many people in Hong Kong plan to commemorate this crackdown by lighting candles across the city on Thursday, circumventing a ban on the usual public gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tiananmen Square

Thursday marks the anniversary of when Chinese troops open-fired on their own people to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations in and around central Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Staying indoors

Every year, people in China come out to show their support and respect for the people who stood up for democracy in 1989. However, this year, the local police urged people to stay inside and fight the coronavirus.

(Photograph:Reuters)

White candles

Still, some people said they intended to go to the city's Victoria Park anyway, as volunteers handed out white candles to people making the morning commute.

(Photograph:Reuters)

A moment of silence

Also, vigil organisers called on residents to light candles across the city instead at 8:00 pm local time (1200 GMT) and hold a minute of silence shortly after.

(Photograph:Reuters)

A censored topic

The Tiananmen crackdown is not officially commemorated in mainland China, where the topic is taboo and any discussion heavily censored.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Hidden facts and figures

China has never provided a full accounting of the 1989 violence. The death toll given by officials days later was about 300, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say the death toll could have run into the thousands.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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