UN alarmed by Hong Kong detentions on Tiananmen Square anniversary

A member of the public is escorted by police after shining the light from a smartphone, near Victoria Park, the city's venue for the annual 1989 Tiananmen massacre vigil, on the 34th anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown in Hong Kong, Sunday, June 4 2023. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

The United Nations expressed alarm over detentions in Hong Kong connected to the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Meanwhile, China stated that the financial hub was progressing from “chaos” to prosperity. Hong Kong police detained 23 individuals yesterday for “breaching public peace” and arrested a 53 year old woman for “obstructing police officers” on the anniversary of the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in Beijing in 1989.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the release of anyone detained for “exercising freedom of expression and peaceful assembly” via Twitter. China’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement yesterday, claimed that “today’s Hong Kong is moving from chaos to stability and prosperity along the right track of ‘one country, two systems’.” A ministry spokesperson added that “external forces,” including the United States, should uphold international law and cease “futile political manipulation” over Hong Kong to contain China.

Restrictions on speech and public protests in Hong Kong have suffocated what were once mass candlelight vigils commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. This has left cities like Taipei, London, New York, and Berlin to preserve the memory of June 4. Hundreds of police officers conducted stop-and-search operations and deployed armoured vehicles near Victoria Park, the previous site of annual vigils.

Hong Kong activists argue that such police action is part of a broader campaign by China to suppress dissent in the city, which was guaranteed continued freedoms for 50 years under a “one country, two systems” model when Britain handed it back in 1997. The United States Consulate posted a photograph on Facebook yesterday of candles arranged in all of its windows, with the caption “In memory.”

The Canadian consulate stated on its Facebook page that it joined the people of Hong Kong and others worldwide in “remembering the violent crackdown against unarmed and peaceful citizens” on June 4, 1989. It added that Canada stood with everyone “prevented from upholding their rights, including the right to assemble peacefully,” reports Channel News Asia.

Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK reported that all 23 people detained yesterday for breaching the peace and public order offences were not arrested and were subsequently released.

World News


Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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