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A Contested History (Transcript)

August 17, 2015

(Listen to the podcast)

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

HRIC Introduction

In this segment of the HRIC podcast series, “A Contested History,” a mainlander working in Hong Kong talks about the significance of the annual June 4th candlelight vigil held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park that commemorates the victims of the military crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement.

Mainlander working in Hong Kong

I’m from mainland China, I’ve been living in Hong Kong for four years, and it’s my fourth year coming to the June Fourth gathering at Victoria Park. I studied media and communications, and I also work in the media. I was born in 1988, before 1989. So I’ve known about [June Fourth] ever since I was born.

In mainland China, I watched some documentaries, but I didn’t know much, because there weren’t any related books I could read. After I came to Hong Kong, where information is more readily accessible, I could read books online, and visit websites, and Feng Congde [a student leader in the 1989 Democracy Movement] also created some June Fourth-related websites.

This year my feelings are very complicated, because this year there are four different factions. In the whole Victoria Park, there used to be two different groups: A and B. Group A wants rehabilitation of the 1989 Democracy Movement, and Group B wants to expose the truth of the June Fourth crackdown. And now there is another group at the University of Hong Kong, which, ultimately, advocates for “localism.” And the group in Tsim Sha Tsui is opposed to June Fourth [views June Fourth as a reminder of the autocratic regime]. So there are four groups. This entire thing is a battle in a contested history: everyone is rethinking the June Fourth incident.

In our entire history up to this point, there are bound to be some [conflicting views]: the older people don’t want to forget, they have a lot of historical baggage; the younger people want to recapitulate the process of localization [distancing the Hong Kong experience from the mainland], and advance the localist movement . . . This is completely understandable. You can’t blame Hong Kongers that the young people increasingly want to separate themselves from China.

Regardless of how many people show up at Victoria Park, as long as some of them sincerely want to not forget history, it’s enough. It doesn’t matter how many people are at Victoria Park. How many people in mainland China do you think want a rehabilitation of the 1989 Democracy Movement? I’m still very moved by the fact that Hong Kongers can continue to do this year after year.



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