Hong Kong pro-Beijing group applies to hold food carnival on June 4 at city’s Victoria Park, former site of annual Tiananmen vigil

Hong Kong pro-Beijing group applies to hold food carnival on June 4 at city’s Victoria Park, former site of annual Tiananmen vigil

A pro-Beijing community group in Hong Kong has applied to host a food carnival on June 4 at Victoria Park, the former location of annual candlelight vigils to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown for three decades.

If the event is approved, it will be the fifth straight year since 2019 that a police-authorised candlelight vigil has not been held in the Causeway Bay park to mark the June 4 crackdown in Beijing.

The Federation of Hong Kong Guangdong Community Organisations last year co-organised a similar event with dozens of allied groups, charging adults HK$5 (US$0.64) admission to taste hometown food and delicacies.

Johnny Ng Kit-chong, the group’s executive vice-chairman, confirmed on Friday that a carnival was planned for June 1 to 5, with a theme similar to last year’s.

“The response last year was very enthusiastic. We will further improve food products this year to attract visitors,” he told the Post.

Last year’s “Hometown Market” showcased 200 booths, performances and games from June 3 to 5. It was co-organised by associations representing different mainland Chinese provinces, including Fujian, Hainan and Jiangxi.

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The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said on Friday it was vetting an application for a “public event” to be held in the park from May 27 to June 8 on four football pitches, the central lawn and basketball courts. It did not name the applicant.

Another group had applied to host an event from June 23 to July 5 to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the park, a department spokesman said.

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The Hong Kong vigil was the only large-scale public gathering on Chinese soil to remember the 1989 crackdown. Photo: Sam Tsang

The Victoria Park vigil was the only large-scale public gathering on Chinese soil to remember the 1989 crackdown.

The now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China had organised the event over the years.

In 2020, authorities banned it for the first time citing concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

Around June 4 in 2021 and 2022, police cordoned off the park citing the Public Order Ordinance. After the alliance disbanded in 2021 and its leaders were arrested, no other groups have applied to officially commemorate June 4.

The June 4 tragedy ended months of student-led demonstrations in mainland China in 1989.

Reports and estimates on the death toll vary, from saying hundreds, possibly more died. Discussions on the crackdown remain taboo and censored on the internet on the mainland.

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