Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tiananmen Square

It was pretty crowded in Victoria Park yesterday. It’s often crowded in Victoria Park. It’s a popular place to hang out on the weekends and it’s an even more popular place for large gatherings and protests. There aren’t a lot of open spaces in the city, so the park works pretty well – and it’s very easy to get to.

Yesterday, about 100,000 people crammed into Victoria Park to commemorate the Tiananmen Square protest. People gather every June 4th, but this was the 25th anniversary, so turnout was higher than usual.

The amazing thing is that Hong Kong is part of China. There is never any mention of the protest in Mainland China, but in Hong Kong, everyone can say whatever they want about it. Every anniversary is all over Hong Kong news while it’s completely ignored on Mainland news.

People talk about “one country, two systems”, but Hong Kong is very much Chinese. There is definitely more freedom in Hong Kong, but the government, people and culture are very Chinese. Most of the people in Hong Kong or their parents are originally from Mainland China and see China in a positive light. Some people say that Hong Kong police are becoming more and more Chinese every day. Internet service is far less restricted in Hong Kong, but civil rights and labor rights lean more toward Chinese.

What’s really amazing is that people from the Mainland can come to Hong Kong relatively easily. The city is mostly seen as a giant shopping mall, but the people in charge of China’s government have to know that Hong Kong newspapers and TV have enough freedom of the press to criticize China and its leaders. When people visit from China to go shopping, they can easily hear news stories that they would never hear in China.

Chinese visitors in Hong Kong this week might be surprised to learn about what happened in Tiananmen Square. Some of them might go home and tell others about it. That’s definitely not so good for all that control and repression the Chinese government has worked so hard on.

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