Several hundred people gathered in Senado Square last night to join the annual candlelight vigil held in memory of the June Fourth Incident that occurred three decades ago in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Organized by lawmakers Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Kam San, the vigil was held last night for the 29th consecutive year. In 1989, as many as 100,000 demonstrators flocked to area around the Ruins of St. Paul’s to protest.
Macau authorities deployed several uniformed officers to the area and around a dozen plainclothes officers with video-recording equipment. Participants in the event were filmed by the officers. Moreover, semi-concealed surveillance camera equipment in the nearby buildings could be detected from the street level.
Approximately 300 participants gathered in the area, with hundreds more briefly pausing as they passed by. Last year, there were about 200 participants.
The vigil started with a speech by Ng introducing the background of the incident before Au’s. Songs were sung and videos were played to remember the incident. Some participants volunteered to speak about the feelings with the incident and the vigil.
The Times spoke with several participants at the vigil.
Mr. Chan, a 39-year-old local, said that he had attended the vigil for the past two decades. “I was eight in 1989. It was my father who took me to the first vigil. I was strongly moved at that time.” He returned to the vigil when he was 19, and he has not missed a single one since then. He was not optimistic about having the incident being redressed by authorities, but he thought “we want them to face what they have done [to the people].”
Despite the economic development of China, Chan said he thought there are still a lot of problems in the country to be addressed. That sentiment was echoed by a tourist from China, who told the Times she had known nothing about June Fourth before witnessing last night’s vigil in Macau.
“As teenagers, we should not hold the thinking that it has been so long so we need to forget it,” she said. “Someone should keep reminding people about it.”
A 17-year-old local high school student was also in sight, although standing at a distance from the vigil. He learned about the 1989 incident from online sources and word of mouth. He told the Times that he believes democracy is inevitable. “At the end of the day, any country will become a democracy,” he said.
A young Taiwanese man who works in Macau said that, because there were casualties, it should be remembered. He stressed to the Times that people on both sides of the straits are ethnically Chinese. Staff reporter