Hong Kong holds protests ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

HONG KONG - Hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators marched through central Hong Kong on Sunday (May 29) ahead of the 27th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing.

The city's pan-democratic leaders such as legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, are calling for the vindication of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and the end to one-party rule in China.

"This is the 27th year after 1989 and the people in Hong Kong, we, are still persistently calling for the vindication of June 4 and the end of one-party rule and democratic China. And also, everyone can see that, the suppression is not just back in 1989, it is also today in China, today in Hong Kong," said Lee.

Dozens of pro-Beijing supporters, such as China loyalist Peter Lam, shouted abuse at the protesters claiming they were exaggerating the version of events.

"For 27 years, they (pro-democratic leaders) have been holding marches to draw attention to the Tiananmen Square massacre. I think this is not the truth. There are casualties in the 1989 riots, but the majority of those who died were military, as well as innocent civilians and students," said Lam.

Pan-democratic leaders are planning to hold a vigil on the night of Jun 4 in commemoration of the crackdown.

Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule under a deal to preserve wide-ranging freedoms, is the only place on Chinese soil where commemorations of Jun 4 are tolerated. Even discussion of the 1989 protests, termed "counter-revolutionary" by Beijing, is taboo on the mainland.

China sent in tanks to break up the student-led protests in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Jun 4, 1989. China has never released a death toll but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.