There is no denying that Hong Kong plays an important role in Tiananmen. Hong Kong’s largest protest ever, on 28 May 1989, was related to the protests. Hong Kong was the base of Operation Yellowbird, the underground railroad responsible for getting dozens of dissidents out of China in the aftermath of the crackdown. But what role does Hong Kong play today in the ongoing quest to seek justice for those killed?
Every year, there is a rally at Victoria Park to commemorate the crackdown. This rally is organized by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. Who are these people in the alliance? Mostly people with delusions about a unified, democratic China, somehow made possible by the efforts of a ragtag group of outsiders thousands of kilometres from Beijing (for Hong Kongers will always be outsiders to the Chinese people, even as they continue to lay claim to the territory itself).
Richard Tsoi, vice chairman of the movement, is especially guilty of promoting his pan-China delusions to the point of harming Hong Kong: he was a key figure in the lifting of the 7-year residency requirement for social welfare in Hong Kong. His party, the so-called Democratic Party, infamously broke ranks with the rest of the democratic camp in 2010, held its own meetings with the CCP, and helped the CCP pass what can only be seen as the lamest political reform package of all time.
The Alliance is also very weak in its stance. It does not demand for the fall of one of the most brutal regimes in history (frankly, Tiananmen is a drop in a bucket compared to the other things this Party has done). Instead, it basically just asks the Party to “rehabilitate” the Tiananmen Movement, which is effectively the same as asking Hitler after the fact to reconsider his massacre of the Jews.
Twenty-five years of begging has not softened the CCP’s stance and never will. Twenty-five years of chanting slogans has not reached the CCP’s ears. Twenty-five years of demanding democracy in China has not brought it, even to ourselves. There is no point in remembering just for the sake of remembering. Something must be done, and something concrete.
When the village of Wukan successfully secured a democratic election for itself in 2012, that was something concrete. It might not have meant much in the end, but at least something actually happened. If Hong Kong pools together to secure civil nomination for itself for 2017, that also would be something concrete. That is much better than perpetuating pan-Chinese fantasies year after year after year.
A tiny bit of progress was made last year. When the Alliance proposed a slogan of “Love the Country, Love the People,” they were immediately condemned. First of all, “love of country” is generally avoided by Chinese activists as the Party has successfully twisted it to mean “love of Party”. Secondly, localists strongly condemned the Alliance’s pan-Chinese stance. The slogan was even panned by Ding Zilin of the Tiananmen Mothers itself. In the end, the Alliance was forced to drop the slogan, but not before making matters way worse:
Then Tsui Hon-kwong of the Hong Kong alliance retorted, accusing Ding of not understanding the situation in Hong Kong and that she had developed “Stockholm Syndrome” in becoming more sympathetic towards the Communist Party.
(Note: I highly recommend the entire article, here is the link.)