Monday, 8 June 2015

The "HKU" June 4th Vigil: Observations

The "HKU" June 4th Vigil: Observations
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by CityU SU Editorial Board (30th)
Original: https://www.facebook.com/cityusueb/posts/667144190083243 
[The "We" mentioned in the article refers to CityUSU EB]
(CityU SU EB)
There are around 2,000 participants in the HKU June 4th Vigil (HKUJ4 Vigil; Tian'anmen Massacre happens on June 4th 1989), but people might wonder what is so special about it. CityUSU Editorial Board sends out our correspondents to three main vigil venues. We are not the host but believe the HKUJ4 Vigil is a subject worth discussion, hence we give our observation and comments below.

(1) Identity: Brooding on and thinking from the identity of Hongkonger
"Re-positioning" the identity of Hongkongers could be said as the main reason that leads to the HKUJ4 Vigil. We think this Vigil focuses more on what does Tian'anmen Massacre mean to us today, and on inspiring the participants and defining the value of Tian'anmen Massacre through discussions; where the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the Alliance; the host in Victoria Park) focuses on those particular moments in 1989, with aims to pursuing the accountability and strengthening people's memory. Therefore, the HKUJ4 Vigil carries on from the topic of Tian'anmen Massacre, and relates it to the current issues in our society. Comparing to the one in Victoria Park, you can see there is a difference on focuses: [Hongkongers/Chinese]; [Now/Then]. We are not saying that the HKUJ4 Vigil does not focus on those moments in 1989, but there are less emphasis.

(2) Method: Non-sentimental; no "political gains" for organisations
The HKUJ4 Vigil is a good starting point - with a more serious academic discussion, participants re-shape Hongkongers in different eras and identities, and have efficiently constructed a inter-generational discussion platform, which establish the significance and meaning of the June 4th vigil in relation to this day and age. There are some drawbacks too -- most of them are personal discourse without genuine interaction, but still, it is better than those organised by the Alliance or Civic Passion. This Vigil does not use gimmick to rally people to vent anger on the society, the establishment and the CCP. The Victoria Park (the Alliance) and Tsim Sha Tsui (Civic Passion) vigil use the commemoration as a tool to gather people. Confrontation starts from one's stance, but if mature discussion is skipped, it would become formulaic and superficial, thus hinders support and understanding.  Undeniably, these organisations have been at work dispensing their discourse via radio programmes and online articles. But when the public and the media did not accord them appropriate and sufficient attention, people could easily have doubts on their confrontation stance and action. Some might consider the discourse in the HKUJ4 Vigil might be considered as a waste of time, but we think it is the discussion platform Hong Kong needs.

What is worth mentioning: there were NO SING-ALONG; NO MEANINGLESS APPLAUSE; NO SLOGAN-CHANTING; NO GIMMICKS. They try to provide more academic support to the current "radical" confrontation and stance. But when they put aside the conventional rally model, how shall such vigil congeal Hongkongers? These are food for thought.

This is the first time Hong Kong Federation of Students abstaining from Tian'anmen Massacre vigil; this is the first time HKUSU starting its own vigil. New model of vigil has shown the change of era. The thought of "constructing a democratic China" has reached the critical point.

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