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Hong Kong students urge China to “rectify” June 4 stance

Posted by Author on April 18, 2009

Reuters, Fri Apr 17, 2009 –

HONG KONG, April 17 (Reuters) – A poll of Hong Kong students has found China should be held accountable for its military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananamen Square in 1989 in which hundreds were killed.

Ahead of the key 20th anniversary of the crackdown on June 4th, the University of Hong Kong held a three-day campus-wide referendum on whether China should “rectify” its verdict that the June 4 protests were counter-revolutionary and be held accountable for the event it described as a “massacre”.

Only 19 percent of the roughly 10,000 undergraduate student body cast votes in the poll that ended on Thursday, but 93 percent of them supported the move, the university’s student union said.

The student union called the result a “momentous landmark” after recent signs of indifference and on-campus tensions in Hong Kong between democratic-minded students and conservative elements wanting to tone down the criticism of Beijing, particularly among students from mainland China.

“Twenty years on from Tiananmen, the students of the University of Hong Kong have not forgotten,” it said in a statement.

The demonstrations that drew more than a million people on to Beijing’s streets are now a fading memory, and the killings are still taboo in mainland Chinese media.

The formerly British-ruled Hong Kong has remained the only city on Chinese soil where annual June 4 vigils, remembrances and protests are tolerated.

Jenny Ngai, the union’s acting external affairs secretary, said that while the turnout rate was “not great”, the vote sent a strong signal to society that Hong Kong’s students, unlike those silenced by authorities on the mainland, would continue to speak out.


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