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Thousands remember 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre

Pausing to reflect: A crowd of thousands gathers for the annual vigil in Victoria Park, in Hong Kong. Police estimated the size to be 37,000, while organisers claimed 180,000 PICTURE: AP

SECURITY was stepped up at Tiananmen Square yesterday as crowds gathered elsewhere to remember the 30th anniversary of the massacre in Beijing.

Foreign journalists had umbrellas opened in front of them as they tried to photograph the site where Chinese authorities are said to have killed thousands of pro-democracy campaigners in 1989 during a crackdown.

China has never confirmed the death toll but a secret diplomatic cable in 2017 put the figure at 10,000.

Passing the torch: A child is given a candle at the Hong Kong vigil PICTURE: AFP
Protest: An inflatable art work in Taipei, Taiwan PICTURE: EPA

In Hong Kong, between 37,000 and 180,000 people were estimated to have attended an annual vigil at Victoria Park which featured a replica of the ‘Goddess of Democracy,’ a plaster sculpture of a female figure holding a torch that was displayed in the square during the protests.

Stanley Lui, 42, said: ‘By being here, I’m standing for truth and justice, even though I’ve no hope the Chinese central government will ever do justice to the protesters.’

Tank man: The lone protester standing in front of the tanks in 1989 PICTURE: GETTY
Replica: The Goddess of Democracy PICTURE: GETTY

China erases mentions of Tiananmen online but campaigners use coded messages to evade censors. One meme this year was an ‘advert’ for face cream saying nothing happened on the day of the massacre.

Jay Jiang, 16, said unlike many others, she knew about the crackdown as a young child. ‘The bottom line is the government should not deceive the people about what happened,’ she added.

Tanks were sent to quell months of student protests between June 3 and 4, 1989, with the enduring image being of a lone man facing them down. The ‘tank man’ scene was recreated as an artwork in Taiwan, which called on China to ‘sincerely repent’.

Hidden meme-ing: The online ‘advert’ for face cream that references the crackdown
On alert: Police outside Tiananmen Square in Beijing PICTURE: EPA