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Slideshow Hong Kong Remembers 1989

June 7, 2009


Activists always organize an event in Hong Kong on June 4th, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. It's the only place on Chinese soil where one can openly discuss it.

But on this, the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen, an estimated 150,000 attended the candlelight vigil - more than previous years, due to the big anniversary, but also because it was a way to generally protest China's central government.

Several 1989 student leaders attended, most notably Xiong Yan, who is one of the most wanted Tiananmen protesters; he'd been turned away by authorities in previous years. But there were other student leaders who were again denied entry to Hong Kong, as well as a Danish sculptor, who has created well-known works dealing with 6/4.

On the mainland, authorities took forceful measures to prevent any type of public commemoration. Foreign media contended with umbrella-wielding plainclothes police in Tiananmen Square - a bit of silly censorship as you'll see. And Flickr and Twitter were blocked (they're reportedly available again). Even local social media sites were ordered to undergo "maintenance" until June 6th.

As a result, the event passed without incident in China - a stark contrast to the scene across the river in Hong Kong, as these photos illustrate.

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