Tens of thousands of people attend an annual vigil at Victoria Park in Hong Kong on Monday, June 4, 2018. Hong Kongers commemorates the victims of the brutal military repression of the Chinese government nearly three decades ago against demonstrators in the Tiananmen Square 1989 in Beijing. (Vincent Yu / Associated Press)
by Associated Press June 4 at 8:52 PM
HONG KONG – US Secretary of State. UU Mike Pompeo urged China to reveal the details of the people killed and detained or disappeared during the Chinese military offensive against pro-democracy protesters centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square 29 years ago.
Pompeo marked Monday's anniversary of the suppression of the demonstrations on June 4, 1989, saying: "We remember the tragic loss of innocent lives."
Hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed demonstrators and spectators were killed at the last minute of June 3 and the dawn of June 4, 1989, after the Chinese Communist leaders ordered the military to resume Tiananmen Square from the student-led protesters.
The issue remains taboo in mainland China and any form of commemoration, public or private, is prohibited. In Hong Kong, however, tens of thousands of people gather each year at Victoria Park on the night of June 4 to remember the victims in the only large-scale public commemoration held on Chinese soil.
The organizers of this year's vigil estimate 150,000 people attended, but the Hong Kong police put the figure at 17,000.
Speakers at the park on Monday night called for a "one-party dictatorship" despite warnings from pro-Beijing officials of possible repercussions.
Albert Ho, President of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Democratic Patriotic Movements of China, the organizer of the vigil, said that people in the semi-autonomous of Hong Kong enjoyed the right to advocate for more political rights.
"When we aspire to establish a true China, we all think that a necessary condition is the end of the one-party dictatorship," Ho told the crowd. "So we are exercising this freedom of expression, and the suggestion that such expression is a violation of the constitution is totally unfounded."
The former Beijing top official in charge of Hong Kong affairs said in April that people calling for a "one-party dictatorship" are breaking the law and should be banned from running for political office.
Concerns have grown in Hong Kong that Beijing is eroding civil liberties there despite promises to keep them after the surrender of Britain in 1997.
In his statement, Pompeo requested The Chinese authorities released who were imprisoned for their efforts to keep alive the memory of the repression and to stop harbading protest participants and their families.
He quoted Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who wrote in his 2010 Nobel Peace Prize speech, delivered in absentia: "The ghosts of June 4 have not yet been buried." Liu last year became the second Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in police custody.
"We join others in the international community to urge the Chinese government to do a full public accounting of those killed, detained or disappeared," Pompeo's statement said.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was "strongly opposed" to Pompeo's statement, calling it interference in China's internal affairs.
"We urge the United States to abandon its prejudices, correct its mistakes, stop making irresponsible comments and interfere in the internal affairs of China," said ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a conference.
He said that EE. UU It should "do things that are more useful for the steady growth of China-US ties rather than the other way around."
While mainland Chinese are barely aware of what happened in Tiananmen Square nearly three decades ago , the issue is openly debated in Taiwan, an autonomous island democracy.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said he hoped Beijing would confront his past.
"For several decades, the Chinese continent has never emerged from the shadows of this historic tragedy," Tsai wrote in a Facebook post.
"Sincerely, they believe that if the Beijing authorities can face the June 4 incident and recognize the state's violence in its essence, the unfortunate history of June 4 will be the basis of China's liberalization and democratization," wrote Tsai.
The authoritarian Communist Party rulers in Beijing insist that Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are part of a single Chinese nation and have vowed to take control of the island by force if necessary.
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