A Hong Kong student
union passed a motion calling on Beijing to apologize for the killings of
pro-democracy demonstrators 20 years ago. In Hong Kong, Kari Jensen has
Two decades after the Tiananmen Square protests ended in violence,
University of Hong Kong students condemned China's actions and demanded that
Beijing take responsibility.
The students voted ahead of the 20th
anniversary of June 4, when China military quashed pro-democracy demonstrations
at Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of
The subject remains taboo in China, but is openly talked
about in Hong Kong, a former British colony that enjoys political freedoms not
tolerated on the mainland.
Jenny Ngai, the Student Union acting external
affairs secretary, is 22. She says young people should learn about Tiananmen
"The more important matter that is to really learn about what
actually happened and not just listen to what others say and not just blindly
believe in one set of media. In order to move your country forward, you have to
learn about history," she said.
At the University of Hong Kong, almost 93
percent of 2,000 students polled voted in favor of the motion admonishing
Hong Kong is the only Chinese city that tolerates Tiananmen
Square protests. Democracy activists lead an annual candlelight vigil for the
anniversary, which thousands attend.
The pro-democracy protests that led
to Tiananmen Square started after former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang died
on April 15, 1989. Mr. Hu was forced from power two years earlier because he
favored faster political reforms than did other party leaders.
in China, the anniversary of Mr. Hu's death passed without public notice this
However, on April 15, Beijing police detained a high-profile
Chinese dissident, Qi Zhiyong, who participated in the Tiananmen Square
protests. Other dissidents also report being under increased
Martin Kok, vice president of the Student Union, says students
often lead social movements.
"I think this generation in 2009, we hope to
continue our role as a leader in this campaign and pass on the torch," he
China released its first National Human Rights Action Plan this
week. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu says the plan outlines goals and
measures to promote and safeguard human rights in the next two years.