Thousands of Hong Kongers are expected at a candlelight vigil Sunday for victims of the Chinese government’s brutal military crackdown nearly three decades ago on protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The evening gathering in downtown Victoria Park is an annual affair that regularly draws tens of thousands. It’s the only large-scale commemoration on Chinese territory of the bloodshed 28 years ago. Commemoration of the Tiananmen events, whether public or private, remains taboo in mainland China, where many are only dimly aware of what happened. But it’s openly discussed in Hong Kong, a special Chinese region with much autonomy and legally entrenched freedom of speech and other civil rights unseen on the mainland.
Hundreds if not thousands of unarmed protesters and onlookers were killed late on June 3 and the early hours of June 4, 1989, after China’s communist leaders ordered the military to retake Tiananmen Square from the student-led demonstrators.