4 June: Tiananmen Square massacre candlelight vigil

photo: Richard A Brooks AFP

With the human rights of the people of Hong Kong under sustained attack by the Chinese Communist Party, it is more important than even to mark the anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square.

Between 15 April and 4 June 1989, peaceful protestors took to the streets in Beijing and other cities to demand political and democratic reforms. The main demonstration in Tiananmen Square was violently ended by the Chinese army. Countless numbers of people were killed and arrested.

Since then, a candlelight vigil has been held in Hong Kong to remember the victims, but the authorities banned the event in 2020. In 2021, union leader Lee Cheuk Yan, along with seven others, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for “inciting, organising and participating” in the candlelight vigil on the 4th of June 2020.

‘The light ... will not go out’

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “We must keep the memory of these events alive and show our solidarity to help keep the light of democracy burning in Hong Kong.

“The international trade union movement stands with everyone there fighting for democracy and demanding respect for their most basic human rights.

“The authorities in Beijing behind this repression need to realise that the light of democracy in Hong Kong will not go out. The desire of the people to have a voice and be heard will not be extinguished.

“We call on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to cease prosecutions and intimidation of trade unionists and advocates for fundamental freedoms, to release those who have been imprisoned, and repeal the so-called ‘national security’ law.”