Powerful turnout for June 4 vigil

Nativist boycott campaign misfires

Socialist Action reporters

This year’s June 4 vigil marked the 27th anniversary of the Beijing massacre, which put a bloody end to the heroic 7-week mass movement against the CCP dictatorship.

Hong Kong with its partial autonomy is the only city in China where such commemorative events are not banned, while strict censorship and repression are used to suppress the memory of the 1989 movement inside China. This year’s Hong Kong vigil drew a crowd of 125,000 – underlining the incredible pulling power of this event and the enduring legacy of the 1989 mass struggle.

While the turnout was down somewhat on last year (135,000), this was a very powerful response given the complicated mood in Hong Kong, a feeling of helplessness and even certain demoralisation that has arisen since the defeat of the 2014 mass Umbrella Movement. This was also despite pressures from the right-wing localist movement (which advocates racist ideas together with confused rhetoric about self-determination/independence for Hong Kong) to boycott the vigil, mainly on the reactionary grounds that the struggle for democracy and against one-party rule in China is “not relevant” to Hong Kong.

The boycott campaign was spearheaded by the main student organisations which are now led by localist groups. Their failure to substantially reduce the turnout at the June 4 vigil, and the small numbers attending their own rival events is seen as a blow to these groups.

The main June 4 vigil has unfortunately been de-politicised and somewhat ‘ritualised’ over many years by the pan-democratic leaders who through the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China control the Victoria Park event. Despite this, the continued strong turnout shows the anger of the masses in Hong Kong against the Chinese dictatorship and a strong mood to defend the legacy of an extremely important mass movement.

The CWI’s forces in China and Hong Kong, which include Socialist Action, campaign to rebuild a mass democracy movement, stressing that this needs to be based mainly on the working class which has the power and cohesion to overthrow the dictatorship. We fight for a socialist alternative to the CCP and its capitalist policies.

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