Memorials for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

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close-up view from below of a large white holding a torch; in upper background is large dome with clocks, a sign by the Hong Kong Federation of Students forms the lower part of the background
A white plastic statue in the backdrop of Times Square from the 20th anniversary commemorations
20th anniversary of the 4 June incident
20th anniversary of the 4 June incident

In the days following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, many memorials and vigils were held around the world. Hong Kong, China and the USA have all held different versions of memorials so that those who died will not be forgotten.

Hong Kong[edit]

Vindicate 4 June and Relay the Torch is an annual activity mourning the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 organised by Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China in Hong Kong Victoria Park.

Anniversary (ordinal) Year data by Alliance data by Police
1st 1990 150,000 80,000
2nd 1991 100,000 60,000
3rd 1992 80,000 28,000
4th 1993 40,000 12,000
5th 1994 40,000 12,000
6th 1995 35,000 16,000
7th 1996 45,000 16,000
8th 1997 55,000 N/A
9th 1998 40,000 16,000
10th 1999 70,000 N/A
11th 2000 45,000 N/A
12th 2001 48,000 N/A
13th 2002 45,000 N/A
14th 2003 50,000 N/A
15th 2004 82,000 48,000
16th 2005 45,000 22,000
17th 2006 44,000 19,000
18th 2007 55,000 27,000
19th 2008 48,000 18,000
20th 2009 200,000 62,800
21st 2010 150,000 113,000
22nd 2011 150,000+ 77,000
23rd 2012 180,000 85,000
24th 2013 150,000 54,000
25th 2014 180,000+ 99,500

Memorials Before the Handover[edit]

In 1990, on the first anniversary of the massacre, Reuters quoted an estimate of 15, 000 people who took part in the demonstration. Organizers from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democracy in China (also known as Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China) provided an estimate of 30,000.[1] Attendees chanted “Long live democracy” and “Rescue those who live”.[2]

Tensions were high in 1996, which marked the seventh anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.[3][4] Residents were not sure whether or not the annual demonstration would continue after the upcoming 1997 sovereignty handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China.[5][6] Many Hong Kong natives feared they would lose the legal right to demonstrate after the handover, which made it so that the annual demonstration’s fate was in potential jeopardy.[7][8] One demonstrator, Yeung Sum, voiced his support for continued demonstrations as he shouted out “this kind of demonstration must be publicly held after 1997”.[9] According to the Globe and Mail, more than 20,000 attended.[10] In the park there was a cenotaph, which was a replica of Heroes’ Monument (also known as the Monument to the People's Heroes) in Tiananmen Square, and near this monument stood a reproduction of the highly symbolic Goddess of Democracy.[11][12] People in the park sang “Do you hear the people sing? / Singing the song of angry men? / It is the music of a people”.[13] Attendees “carried large funeral wreaths” to the base of the replicated Heroes’ Monument.[14] When the floodlights dimmed, people passed several minutes of silence by raising thousands of candles.[15]

The eighth anniversary, in 1997, was just before the handover (also known as the Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong). People in the demonstration speculated that it might turn out to be the last vigil.[16] Organizers estimated a total of 55,000 people, which was a record breaking number up to this point.[17] According to the Associated Press the “demonstrators cut across many divisions” and included groups of people such as youth, business professionals, senior citizens, and workers.[18] City Hall approved the demonstration, as well as a “controversial three-story high sculpture”.[19] This piece was called “The Pillar of Shame” and was lit up during the night.[20] It portrayed “twisted bodies with agonized faces”.[21] “The Pillar of Shame” was “controversial” partially because City Hall refused to allow the sculpture to be shown in public during the Hong Kong handover ceremony.[22]

Memorials After the Handover[edit]

The ninth anniversary, in 1998, was significant because – according to The Guardian – they were the “first protestors permitted to mourn the trauma of Tiananmen on Chinese soil”.[23] This memorial service was also centred on the “controversial Pillar of Shame”.[24] Demonstrators hung “large black banners” that read “reverse the verdict on June 4”,[25] while other banners swore to “fight to the end” and to “never forget June 4”.[26] Wei Jingsheng “sent a pre-recorded video message” that was broadcast through loud speakers and Wang Dan “spoke live from New York”.[27]

The tenth anniversary, in 1999, also featured the controversial “Pillar of Shame” and according to the South China Morning Post, the sculpture included a column that read “the spirit of democracy martyrs will live forever”.[28] Similar to demonstrations in earlier years, the participants also sang “pro-democracy” songs and “chanted slogans”.[29] The South China Morning Post reported that Wang Dan’s mother, Wang Lingyun, “spoke to the crowd from a mobile phone after her line at home was cut off at 5 pm”.[30] From San Francisco, Wang Dan also spoke to the crowd.[31]

During the fifteenth anniversary, in 2004, activists handed out leaflets, which encouraged mainland tourists to go to the vigil.[32] Organizers reported that 82,000 people attended, which was up from last year’s count of 50,000.[33]

The twentieth anniversary, in 2009, had about 150,000 attendees, according to organizers.[34][35] This was the largest turnout since the first vigil nineteen years earlier, according to organizers.[36][37] Police, however, recorded the number of attendees to only be about 62, 800.[38][39] As the attendees were holding candles and playing traditional Chinese instruments, demonstrators chanted “Vindicate the student movement of 1989!”.[40][41] China’s Ministry of Public Security issued a “written statement” about “security measures” taken prior to the beginning of the anniversary.[42] This statement read “it’s one of our Public Security authorities’ important responsibilities to maintain and ensure social stability”.[43]

China[edit]

Police are kept on alert during many of the anniversaries in order to guard against public displays of mourning.[44][45][46][47][48] According to The Washington Post, Beijing “banned any mourning by groups not specifically authorized”.[49] Similarly, during the third anniversary there was a sign in the centre of the Square that “warned visitors not to lay mourning wreaths”, unless the government had given the visitor consent at least five days in advance.[50]

Several people have been arrested, or at least taken away for questioning, for attempting to mourn the victims publically.[51][52][53] One man was questioned for wearing a button that had the V-for-Victory sign and the word “Victory” on it in 1990.[54] According to the New York Times, another man, in 1992, named Wang Wanxin “was dragged away after he tried to unfurl a banner calling on Deng Xiaoping [...] to apologize for the 1989 army crackdown”.[55] Some other modes of commemoration included 50 dissidents staging a 24-hour hunger strike in 2000 [56] and private memorial services in people’s houses.[57] In 1999, Su Bingxian lit a candle for her son who was killed in the massacre,[58] while others lit ten symbolic candles.[59]

USA[edit]

In San Francisco, for the fifth anniversary, the city erected a 9 ½ feet bronze statue that was modeled after the original Goddess of Democracy.[60] It is located in the edges of Chinatown, on a small park.[61] Fang Lizhi and Nick Er Liang were at the unveiling.[62] The designer, Thomas Marsh, used photographs of the original Goddess of Democracy as a model for his statue.[63] Two Chinese students of his formed the torch, and another formed the face.[64]

Online Memorials[edit]

There are many online memorials. For example, the organizers of the annual candlelight vigil, The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, have a website where people can sign the “Condolence Book for the victims of Tiananmen”.[65] This is an online condolence book to be “burnt in front of the statue of democracy at the June 4 Candlelight vigil”.[66] This website provides information about details of past anniversaries.[67] There is also information about the June 4 massacre [68] and gives information about other commemorative events.[69]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Southerland, Daniel (6 April 1990). “Massed Beijing Police Oversee Conformist Day of Mourning”. "The Washington Post" (1974-Current File; Pg. A5). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/140239378?accountid=13800
  2. ^ Southerland, Daniel (6 April 1990). “Massed Beijing Police Oversee Conformist Day of Mourning”. The Washington Post (1974-Current File; Pg. A5). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/140239378?accountid=13800
  3. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  4. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Holds Vigil – the Last? – For Tiananmen Victims”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/05/world/hong-kong-holds-vigil-the-last-for-tiananmen-victims.html
  5. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  6. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Holds Vigil – the Last? – For Tiananmen Victims”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/05/world/hong-kong-holds-vigil-the-last-for-tiananmen-victims.html
  7. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  8. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Holds Vigil – the Last? – For Tiananmen Victims”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/05/world/hong-kong-holds-vigil-the-last-for-tiananmen-victims.html
  9. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  10. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  11. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  12. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Holds Vigil – the Last? – For Tiananmen Victims”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/05/world/hong-kong-holds-vigil-the-last-for-tiananmen-victims.html
  13. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Holds Vigil – the Last? – For Tiananmen Victims”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/06/05/world/hong-kong-holds-vigil-the-last-for-tiananmen-victims.html
  14. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  15. ^ Mickleburgh, Rod (5 June 1996). “Hong Kong Remembers Massacre”. The Globe and Mail (Pg. A.1). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/384985278?accountid=13800
  16. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  17. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  18. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  19. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  20. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  21. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  22. ^ The Associated Press (5 June 1997). “Memorial May Be Last in Hong Kong//Tiananmen Square Future in Doubt”. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/memorial-may-be-last-in-hong-kong-tiananmen-square-future/article_ae2e8d68-9da6-5130-831c-8b28ad931317.html
  23. ^ Higgins, Andrew (5 June 1998). “Hong Kong Punctures Tiananmen Amnesia”. The Guardian (The Guardian Foreign Page; Pg. 16). Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/hottopics/lnacademic/?shr=t&csi=138620&sr=HLEAD(hong%20kong%20punctures%20tiananmen%20amnesia)%20AND%20DATE%20IS%201998-06-05
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  28. ^ Yeung, Chris; Lai-fan, Kong (5 June 1999). “Tiananmen Light Undimmed”. South China Morning Post (Pg. 1). Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/hottopics/lnacademic/?shr=t&csi=11314&sr=HLEAD(tiananmen%20light%20undimmed)%20AND%20DATE%20IS%201999-06-05
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  32. ^ Bradsher, Keith (5 June 2004). “Hong Kong Crowds Mark Tiananmen Square Killings”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/05/international/asia/05hong.html
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  68. ^ ) Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. n.p., 2013. Web. 11 April 2014. http://www.alliance.org.hk/english/index.html
  69. ^ ) Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. n.p., 2013. Web. 11 April 2014. http://www.alliance.org.hk/english/index.html

External links[edit]