Counting Candles: Tiananmen Square Anniversary Gathering in Hong Kong

Yesterday marked 23 years since the crack-down in Tinanamen Square in Beijing. Hong Kong is the only city in China where crowds can gather to commemorate the deaths of pro-democracy protesters. Organisers and media report crowds numbering 180,000 – an increase on last year’s record gathering of 150,000.

The mass gathering occurs in the weeks preceding the 15th anniversary of the Handover of Hong Kong to Mainland China. There an agreement was struck ensuring “one country, two systems” for 50 years. Having been in Hong Kong that seemed a lifetime away. Now those special privileges expire in 35 years. My son will be 43 then.

Perhaps it’s the ticking clock on Hong Kong’s status as a special zone that inspired more to rally. Perhaps it’s part of the global malaise that led to the Occupy Movement. Perhaps it’s just a new generation that rallied behind last night’s theme: “Don’t forget to remember.”

There is no danger of forgetting, as the hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong proved last night – one candle at a time.

Sidebar: Even Markets Remember

HONG KONG: The Shanghai Stock Exchange produced an uncanny – and politically delicate – numerical result on the 23rd anniversary of the military crackdown in Tiananmen Square, an odd echo of a tragedy that China’s leaders have tried desperately to erase from their country’s consciousness.

The index fell 64.89 points on Monday, a figure that looks like June 4, 1989. In yet another unusual development, the index opened on Monday at 2346.98 – a figure that looks like the date of the crackdown written backward, followed by the 23rd anniversary.

Chinese censors, showing characteristic heavy-handedness, especially on anniversaries of Tiananmen Square, began blocking searches for “stock market,” “Shanghai stock” and “Shanghai stock market” and started deleting large numbers of microblog postings about the numerical fluke.

(Article displayed courtesy of The Times of India.)

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