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Tiananmen Square Massacre: Hong Kong marks the warning for the last time



Ousted General Secretary of the Communist Party, Hu Yaobang, dies at age 73 on April 15, 1989. The next day, thousands of students gather at Tiananmen Square to mourn him -- Hu had become a symbol of reform for the student movement. A week later thousands more marched to Tiananmen Square -- the start of an occupation that would end in a tragic showdown.

“It was a time of hope,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a veteran activist and former Hong Kong parliament member. At that time, the city was eight years from being handed over from Britain to Chinese control, and there was a feeling that young demonstrators across the border could change China for the better.

“For many Hong Kong citizens, we feel that 1997 really hung in our heads. But young people in China are demanding democracy, and we think if they succeed, that means Hong Kong doesn’t have to live under an authoritarian regime.”

But that hope became hopeless when the People’s Liberation Army crushed the protest on June 4. No official death toll has ever been released, but human rights groups estimate that hundreds, if not thousands, have been killed. The Tiananmen protest and crackdown were removed from history books in China, censored and controlled, organizers were exiled or arrested, and relatives of those who died were closely monitored.

On Monday, police refused permission for a demonstration this year, citing ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings related to the coronavirus pandemic. For many in the democratic opposition, the justification is hollow: organizers say they will work with authorities to ensure a safe rally and social distance, and meanwhile the city’s shopping districts, subways and public parks have been opened for weeks with few issues .

Speaking to reporters after the ban was announced, Lee said police “pressed our guard under the pretext of executing a ban on assembly.”

The decision by the police carries an extra burden because many have been feared this week might be the last chance to freely mark the anniversary. Last month, China announced it would impose ruthless national security laws in Hong Kong, in response to widespread anti-government unrest which often occurred last year.

The law criminalizes separation, incitement and subversion. It also allows Chinese security services to operate in Hong Kong for the first time – which has raised concerns among many in the city that PLA members could be deployed to the streets if protests continue.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, a group founded by Lee that has been organizing the vigil Tiananmen every year since 1990, has warned that it could be banned under the new law, it points to his previous support for activists convicted under similar national security laws in China and the old opposition to the “one-party dictatorship.”
There is good reason to believe that vigilantism will be banned in the future. Last month, CY Leung, a former chief executive of the city and a high member of the advisory body of the Chinese government, predictable as much, while warning in neighboring Macau – which already has a national security law on books – as well has been blocked by the authorities.

Historic moment

Tiananmen has an indelible effect on Hong Kong politics. Demonstrations were held in solidarity with pro-democracy demonstrators ahead of the massacre, and many activists in the city traveled north to offer help and support.

After the crackdown, “Yellow Bird Operation“Helping to smuggle Beijing and other protest organizers at risk of being captured into the city, it is still British territory. Around 500 people were extracted from China, according to the Hong Kong Alliance, including student protest leaders such as Wu’er Kaixi, famously debated by the Chinese Prime Minister. Li Peng was at the peak of the demonstration.
In the years following the crackdown, growing pressure on Britain to do more to protect Hong Kong under the imminent Chinese government, and in 1994 Governor Chris Patten made elections in a fully democratic city parliament for the first time – a a move that was not approved by London and met with anger in Beijing.
The Legislative Council elected the following year is the first and only when parliament has a pro-democracy majority. It was dissolved and replaced by a body appointed by Beijing as soon as Chinese control of the city came into force.

In the eight years after Tiananmen, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents moved abroad, although many returned soon after surrender after a feared crackdown did not proceed and the city enjoyed an economic boom under the new authorities. However, most of those who returned came with foreign passports in their back pockets, ready to flee again if things turned negative.

A renewed exodus may be on the horizon thanks to the new national security law. After the Chinese announcement, the British moved to expand some rights for British (Overseas) National passport holders, of which there are around 300,000 in Hong Kong and up to 3 million residents born in cities before 1997 who are eligible to register. London said that if the law came into force, BNO holders would be given a 12-month stay in the UK, up from 6 months, giving them a potential path to British citizenship.

What happens next?

In the two decades of Chinese rule, Tiananmen’s warning has always been something that distinguishes Hong Kong, a litmus test of whether freedom and urban autonomy are still protected.

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It also served as a kind of incubator for political talent, often being one of the first demonstrations attended by many Hong Kong residents. Many activists, including former Umbrella Movement leaders Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, have talked about the effects of the June 4 warning on their own political revival.

Last year, the city leader, Carrie Lam, pointed for the annual rally as proof that “Hong Kong is a very free society.”

“If there is a public meeting to express their views and feelings on certain historic incidents, we fully respect that view,” he said.

Asked this week about whether the meeting would be banned under the new national security law, Lam said, “We don’t have a draft law at the moment. We can handle it later.”

Hong Kong officials insist that concerns over the law are excessive, and that new violations of incitement, subversion and secession will only apply to a handful of people, even when they admit that they are also largely in the dark over the Beijing plan.

In a statement on law last week, the Hong Kong Alliance warned that it was “like a knife in the neck of all Hong Kong people.”

“Even if it only cuts a little, it threatens the freedom of all 7 million,” the group said. “This is the implementation of rules with fear in Hong Kong.”

For now, they are still opposed to that fear, even when the coronavirus restrictions have thwarted mass demonstration plans. Small meetings will be held throughout the city, and the Alliance has call all citizens to light candles at 8 p.m., holding them outside their windows to recreate a sea of ​​light that has become a common image of the annual flame at Victoria Park.
“Will Hong Kong citizens be able to hold vigils next year? One year is forever in politics, and predictions are dangerous,” writes Chinese scholar Jerome Cohen this week. “However, unless there is an unexpected change in leadership in Beijing, it seems very likely, especially given the forthcoming (national security law), that Hong Kong can follow Macao in surrendering to amnesia that has long been forced on the mainland …”

CNN’s Chermaine Lee contributed reporting.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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