29th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square 115 Ks turnout

People in Hong Kong have gathered for an annual memorial service for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing.Organizers say about 115,000 people turned out on Monday for this year’s gathering to mark the 29th anniversary of the incident. That’s 5,000 more than last year.

Participants lit candles in memory of the victims of the fatal crackdown on pro-democracy activists, many of whom were students.

The demonstrators demanded that the Chinese government re-evaluate the incident, which it says left 319 people dead.

Critics say the number was far larger.

The organizers displayed a bust of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo at the rally. Liu was a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in the country. He died last year.

The demonstrators protested against the Chinese authorities’ continued surveillance of his widow, Liu Xia, and called for her release from house arrest.

They also criticized what they see as an intensifying crackdown on human rights lawyers in mainland China, as President Xi Jinping moves to solidify his one-person rule.

A 61-year-old participant said that people in Hong Kong need to make their voices heard in the international community about the deterioration of human rights and democracy in China.

About 100 people also held a rally in the Taiwanese city of Taipei on Monday night to remember the victims of the incident.

Wu Renhua, a former university lecturer, told the crowd what he saw when he joined the student-led protest on June 4th 29 years ago. Wu now lives in exile in the United States.

Wu said more than 200,000 troops were mobilized against the protest. He said troops fired at crowds randomly and tanks charged into them. He said children and medical staff giving first aid were among those killed.

Wu emphasized that the impact of Tiananmen continues. He said Chinese authorities still threaten veterans of the protest at home and abroad. He called on people at the rally to stand up and continue saying “no” to the Chinese government and Communist Party.

A man in his 20s said people in Taiwan need to sustain interest in how Chinese authorities persecute dissidents. Otherwise, he said Taiwan could lose its democracy just like what is happening in Hong Kong.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen delivered a message to people in mainland China on her Facebook page, using simplified Chinese characters.

She wrote that China is haunted by the 1989 tragedy. But she said it can be turned into a foundation to move toward a society that embraces freedom and democracy if Beijing faces up to history and admits using state violence on its citizens.

Tsai said she hopes the universal values of freedom and democracy can be enjoyed by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

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