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Hong Kong commemorates Tiananmen Square as city freedoms come under growing strain


Hong Kong commemorates Tiananmen Square as city freedoms come under growing strain

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Photo: Reuters

China’s semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong will today hold unofficial memorials commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacres.

The memorial will remember the 1989 student-led protests against Beijing that were sparked by the death of a reformist Communist leader. Since then, there have been no clear statistics on the number of casualties from the protests, but estimates range from hundreds to thousands.

Today’s anniversary comes as Hong Kong’s autonomy is under increasing pressure from Beijing. Hong Kong’s post-colonial freedoms have been challenged recently by Beijing selectively subjecting a number of zones in the city to Chinese mainland law.

Likewise, internal unrest in the city has resurfaced in recent weeks over a proposed extradition law. Businesses and civil society groups have denounced the proposal for claims that it fundamentally undermines the city’s autonomy. Its passage could set off another round of city-wide demonstrations.

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Domestic sensitivity over the extradition law makes is unlikely that Hong Kong authorities will oppose the commemoration. However, with civil freedoms under pressure from Beijing, the threat of extradition legislation is likely to continue to be used by authorities to quell further pro-democracy demonstrations.

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