For 32 years, Hong Kongers have held a vigil in Victoria Park on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Not this year:
#UPDATE A Hong Kong park that traditionally hosts huge vigils on the anniversary of China's deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown lay empty for the first time late Friday as police blocked access pic.twitter.com/JgLXD9xuqZ
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 4, 2021
Police blocked access to the park, but more importantly, Hong Kong’s common-law tradition has been confiscated from the island’s citizens. In its place, politically controlled courts accountable to the Chinese Communist Party have been instated. This image, one I’m sure that Beijing hopes is seen in Taiwan, says one thing: Hong Kong has been defeated.
The sight of an unattended vigil in a territory that lie in darkness put me in mind of Thomas Davis’s nationalist anthem “The West’s Awake” which begins:
When all beside a vigil keep,
The West’s asleep, the West’s asleep –
Some of the lyrics that Davis applied to his own nation could as well apply to Hong Kong:
That chainless wave and lovely land
Freedom and Nationhood demand,
Sing oh! the great God never plann’d,
For slumbering slaves, a home so grand.
And long a brave and haughty race
Honoured and sentinelled the place.
Sing, Oh! not even their sons’ disgrace
Can quite destroy their glory’s trace.