A major Hong Kong university on Saturday covered a painted slogan commemorating China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown, the latest example of a public June 4 memorial removed in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong.
A Reuters reporter saw a dozen construction workers wearing yellow hard hats erect gray metal construction signs around a “martyrs’ slogan” painted the length of the University of Hong Kong’s Swire Bridge ( HKU). The slogan, painted in Chinese characters on the sidewalk, read: “The souls of the martyrs will forever persist despite the cold-blooded slaughter. The spark of democracy will shine forever for the disappearance of evil.
Asked why the university, which tore down a Tiananmen “Pillar of Shame” statue in December, covered up the 20-character slogan, an HKU spokesperson said via email: ” The University of Hong Kong regularly carries out maintenance work at various locations and facilities, with the above site being one such project.” For more than three decades, HKU students have had a tradition of repainting the slogan on the bridge ahead of the anniversary of the 1989 crackdown.
The 20-meter (65-foot) long slogan fence is the latest milestone in Hong Kong involving memorials, people or organizations affiliated with the sensitive date and events to mark it. Rights groups and witnesses say thousands may have been killed in Beijing’s crackdown on students and democracy activists. Chinese authorities have given a death toll of around 300.
The former British colony was long the only place on Chinese soil where June 4 could be publicly commemorated, unlike mainland China where it is a taboo and censored subject. For the past two years, however, authorities have banned an annual candlelight vigil, citing COVID-19. In December, three local universities dismantled sculptures commemorating Beijing’s Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, in which hundreds if not thousands of people were killed after Chinese troops fired on civilians.
Authorities have cracked down on Hong Kong under a national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020 that some foreign governments, including the United States, say is being used to suppress civil society, imprison democracy activists and make silence dissent. Authorities say the law restored order and stability after massive street protests in 2019.
Several workers and security guards at the bridge site declined to comment on the work. Parts of the slogan that could not be enclosed by the nearly 2 meters (6 1/2 ft) high palisade were covered with metal plates on the road.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)