HONG KONG—Han Dongfang, a veteran Tiananmen Sq. activist, says Hong Kong mustn’t lose coronary heart regardless of a heavy China-led crackdown on its freedoms, as he defied police warnings and sat quietly on a park bench to commemorate the victims of June 4.
Han, who was virtually killed when Chinese language troopers opened hearth on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989, and was then jailed and compelled into exile, was one of many few folks in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on Friday afternoon, ignoring a police ban on an annual candlelight vigil, ostensibly imposed as a part of coronavirus restrictions.
Clad in a black T-shirt and yellow masks to chase away the virus, and seated subsequent to an outdated banyan tree, Han spoke of the significance of protecting truths alive, and of not succumbing to worry.
“Right now, I simply really feel like being right here,” the 58-year-old, with an extended salt and pepper beard, and bushy moustache, advised Reuters.
Surrounded by dozens of police who have been conducting physique searches and identification checks on some passersby, Han remained resolute on the tragedy that has consumed a lot of his life.
Regardless of Hong Kong’s crackdown below the brand new nationwide safety legislation, imposed final June, Han was upbeat on his adopted dwelling metropolis of 28 years the place he runs a labor non-governmental group.
“I used to be there in 1989 on June 4 in Tiananmen Sq.. I noticed hearth, I noticed the bullets, I noticed blood … However all through this stuff, Hong Kong continues to be Hong Kong. We’re nonetheless privileged. It’s a spot that also has fairly a giant area, and don’t inform your self there’s no more room,” he mentioned.
“Earlier than your final breath, don’t inform your self you’re useless.”
Chow Grasp Tung, one of many organizers of the Hong Kong vigil was arrested early on Friday and police warned of additional detentions if folks violated the ban on unauthorized assemblies.
Han acknowledged the risks however mentioned folks have been seeking to do one thing dignified and significant.
And whereas the park won’t be stuffed with tens of 1000’s of individuals for the primary time in 32 years after police cordoned off the soccer pitches the place most individuals collect, Han remained assured the historic document can be preserved.
“One necessary factor is, no matter occurs don’t scare your self,” he mentioned.
“Don’t inform your self there’s no gentle, notably in case you are in a darkish tunnel. That doesn’t assist. There should be gentle on the finish of the tunnel.”