Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong joined a candlelight vigil in a downtown park last night to commemorate the 25th anniversary of China's bloody military suppression of protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Participants held candles to remember the victims at the vigil, which turned Victoria Park's six soccer fields into an ocean of flickering light. More than 180,000 people joined the gathering, according to organizers. Police say the turnout was closer to 100,000, but it was still likely one of the largest turnouts for the annual event in recent years.
Democracy activists laid a wreath at a makeshift memorial as they read out the names of those who died in the crackdown that killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed protesters and onlookers. The protests remain a taboo—and heavily censored—topic in mainland China, and Beijing has never given a full accounting of what happened. But in Hong Kong, which retains Western-style civil liberties unseen on the mainland, the memory of the Tiananmen protests reinforces the widening differences with China. "When the whole of China is being silenced, I think the people of Hong Kong, now, with the freedom that we have, have the responsibility to light up the candle for them," a protest organizer says. Click for more. (Read more Tiananmen Square stories.)