Over the weekend, nations around the world commemorated the tragic anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre that occurred in China on June 4, 1989, while those who tried to do so in Hong Kong were arrested. Remembering the fight for freedom in which thousands died, nations around the world are keeping their memory alive while Chinese authorities are trying to erase the day from history. Breitbart reports that dozens were arrested in Hong Kong for memorializing the fateful day where a peaceful protest for democracy was violently destroyed by government troops.
Until 2020, those remembering the Tiananmen Square massacre in China gathered in Hong Kong to remember the victims and the courageous attempt to promote the idea of freedom. In 2020, however, the gathering was banned under the guise of safety due to the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that measure was the “national security law” that “criminalized almost all criticism of the Chinese Communist Party as ‘sedition’ or ‘treason.'” These reasons were “among the excuses Hong Kong officials cited for arresting people as they strove to remember the Tiananmen Square massacre on Sunday.”
Those arrested in Hong Kong included 67-year-old “Grandma Wong,” who was standing on a street corner handing out flowers. Police also arrested people wearing the color yellow (yellow is associated with the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement), and people carrying books referring to the massacre. Police set up checkpoints to ensure no one was engaging in any type of memorial for the massacre. Police looked for candles, images of candles on smartphones, and codes such as “64” and “the 35th of May,” both of which refer to June 4.
While searches and arrests took over Hong Kong on Sunday, freedom-loving nations around the world did their part in ensuring the memory of those who stood up for freedom was not erased on the tragedy’s 34th anniversary. In Hong Kong itself, both the U.S. and European Union diplomatic missions put electric candles in their windows, and the Australian, British, and Canadian consulates shared messages of remembrance on social media.
As the people of freedom-loving nations deal with the frustration of political disputes, it is important to pause and remember the blessing it is to live in freedom because that is not the case for many people around the world. Never having experienced freedom, many people are not only being deprived of their human rights, but they are also being deprived of having any idea that human rights even exist. The responsibility of free nations to remember those who have sacrificed everything for the defense of human rights is a duty that must never be ignored.