Editorial:Remember the dead of June Fourth in a law-abiding way

【明報專訊】Today (June 4) is the 32nd anniversary of the June Fourth Incident, also the first after the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law. For the second year in a row, the authorities have refused to allow the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the Alliance) to organise a vigil at Victoria Park citing anti-pandemic needs and restrictions on gatherings. The original intention of the demand for the rehabilitation of the June Fourth Incident is to do justice to history. The 1989 pro-democracy movement was a patriotic and democratic movement that should not have been violently suppressed. The history of ''June Fourth'' should not be erased, nor should it be forgotten. However, there are many ways to mourn the dead, and one should not break the law in doing so.

Since 1990, the Alliance has held vigils at Victoria Park for 30 consecutive years. Last year, the pandemic broke out, and the police rejected the Alliance's application for a vigil at Victoria Park for the first time on the grounds of the anti-pandemic and social distancing measures. The same decision has been made this year. Over the past few days, some people on the Internet have called for gatherings at Victoria Park and various locations tonight. The police have said they will pay close attention to the situation. If anyone participates in an unauthorised assembly and violates the gathering restriction order or the Public Order Ordinance, the police will ''enforce the law promptly and decisively''. The Alliance has expressed regret that the June Fourth assembly cannot go on, at the same time emphasising that it ''will act in a lawful and peaceful manner''. The Alliance hopes that citizens will carefully assess the dangers and refrain from taking unnecessary risks.

The commemoration of the June Fourth Incident at Victoria Park is a collective memory of Hong Kong people. Over the years, it has been given different meanings by different people. Some people regard it as a barometer of freedom of speech in Hong Kong. With the rise of the localist ideology and the Hong Kong independence ideology, some people regard the mourning of the dead in the June Fourth Incident as a link between Hong Kong and the mainland. Some people have also queried whether the vigil at Victoria Park has become ''ritualised'' and suggested that it should be forsaken. Over the past two years, Hong Kong has undergone tremendous change. The great political showdown of the anti-amendment storm has completely changed the central government's view of Hong Kong. As a result, the National Security Law was enacted, and the electoral system revised. Hong Kong cannot turn the clock back to the days before the anti-amendment storm. The political environment in which the Alliance and the June Fourth vigil relied on for their existence in the past has undergone fundamental change. For the second year in a row, the vigil at Victoria Park has not been approved for anti-pandemic reasons. There are many unknowns concerning whether it can be held again in the future. It has turned out something described as ''ritualised'' cannot be taken for granted.

The 1989 pro-democracy movement was moving because the students at Tiananmen Square adhered to the principle of peace, rationality and non-violence. The authorities sent troops to suppress this patriotic and democratic movement by violent means. That was wrong no matter how you see it, and this is a fundamental moral issue. No matter how glorious a country's history is, it is inevitable that there are dark sides. Both the good and bad aspects should be deeply understood and firmly remembered. To insist on rehabilitating the June Fourth Incident is to do justice to history, let the victims rest in peace, and help their families out of their pain. The Victoria Park candlelight vigil and the exhibition at a memorial museum were the most widely-known ways to commemorate the incident in the past. However, even if there are no assemblies or exhibition halls, there are still many legal ways to remind people not to forget the June Fourth Incident in 1989. It is totally unnecessary and unjustified to break the law.

明報社評 2021.06.04:平反六四秉初心 悼念勿以身試法





■/ Glossary 生字 /

barometer /bəˈrɒmɪtə(r)/

sth that shows the changes that are happening in an economic, social or political situation

forsake /fəˈseɪk/

to leave someone, esp. when you should stay because they need you

moving /ˈmuːvɪŋ/

causing strong, often sad, feelings about sb/sth


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