Date
20 January 2017
Chinese characters read "Remembering June 4th" on a banner put up by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China during a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park last year. Photo: Bloomberg
Chinese characters read "Remembering June 4th" on a banner put up by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China during a candlelight vigil at Victoria Park last year. Photo: Bloomberg

Why we should remember June 4 but ignore the ‘Alliance’

This year’s June 4 memorial activities, including the candlelight vigil Thursday night, could see the least level of impetus compared to recent years.

All that the old politicians who are in charge of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the “Alliance”) can do is repeat the old tone of the previous year. Even so, they still don’t dare to officially give up their slogan of “building a democratic China”.

In contrast, Ding Zilin, convener of Tiananmen Mothers, said during a recent telephone interview that she respected the choice of the young people in Hong Kong, and agreed that the fight for democracy was not necessarily associated with “national unity”.

I am really moved by what she said.

As a parent of a victim of the June 4, 1989 massacre, Ding Zilin is definitely grateful to Hong Kong people for their continued support over the past 25 years, and she also respects the change of mind among the young people in Hong Kong, because she has never regarded the city’s people as her own political tool, unlike the politicians in the Alliance.

To the leading figures of the Alliance, who are almost all politicians, the June 4 incident is just a part of their political game or a tool to serve their political purposes.

One might still be able to remember that two years ago, the Alliance had the nerve to ask Ding Zilin to join them in denouncing the indigenous faction. When Ding declined to do so, the Alliance criticized her for coming down with “Stockholm syndrome”.

All Ding wants to do is to seek vindication on the June 4 incident and justice for those who perished during the massacre, and therefore it is natural that the political interest of the Hong Kong politicians is never her concern.

Nor does she have any hard feelings about the fact that university students in Hong Kong no longer want to support democratization on the mainland, and instead want to stay focused on fighting for democracy in Hong Kong.

I hold Professor Ding and what she said in high regard. In comparison, I believe it is the leaders of the Alliance and the pan-democrats who are actually coming down with “Stockholm syndrome”.

In fact they have been fighting a losing battle against the Chinese Communist Party over the past 30 years, and they have basically surrendered in their mind. Worse still, they have started looking at issues from the standpoint of their enemy.

My advice for the youth of Hong Kong is simple: Don’t let go of the June 4 incident, for this issue is still highly relevant to us and our politics. June 4 represents the emotion of an entire generation.

It is in fact an important asset rather than an emotional baggage for the people of Hong Kong, particularly the indigenous faction. What we should really let go of is the Alliance itself, because is now an obstacle to achieving true democracy in Hong Kong.

Under public pressure, leaders of the Alliance have quietly abandoned their “patriotic” position which they had stuck to continuously for the past 25 years, which demonstrated that these people have no integrity whatsoever, and are nothing more than a bunch of political opportunists.

Is it possible for the people of Hong Kong to support vindication on the June 4 event without having to support the Alliance?

The answer is absolutely yes, just as young people can continue to support student movements in Hong Kong without having to support the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

As a matter of fact, back in 1989, when one fourth of our population took to the street and showed their support for the students at the Tiananmen Square, and tens of thousands of local volunteers organized themselves to arrange for tons of supplies to be sent to Beijing in support of mainland students, the Alliance didn’t even exist.

The organization was born only after the June 4 incident, when politicians needed a platform to inherit the political legacy of the massacre.

While Hong Kong people should continue to commemorate the June 4 incident, it is also okay for them to stop supporting democratization of the mainland, because after all we haven’t done anything solid to facilitate that apart from shouting empty slogans.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 2. [Chinese version 中文版]

Translation by Alan Lee

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RC

HKEJ columnist

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