1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Tiananmen Square: Taiwan hopes for future 'without fear'

June 4, 2023

On the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Taiwan's president voiced hope that China's youth will soon be able to freely express themselves. More than 20 people were detained at a vigil in Hong Kong.

Police officers take away a citizen in the Causeway Bay neighborhood on the eve of the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Security has been tightened in Hong Kong on the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdownImage: Louise Delmotte/dpa/AP/picture alliance

Taiwan's president said she hopes that the youth of China would one day be able to sing freely and express themselves on the mainland, in a statement marking the 34th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Tsai Ing-wen said in a Sunday Facebook post that Taiwanese people have the space to express their opinions and creations through diversified channels. She added that such practices have nourished the culture in Taiwan.

"We hope that someday young people in China will be freely singing songs. And that they can create enthusiastically without fear," Tsai wrote in Mandarin.

Hundreds and possibly over 1,000 people were killed when China's People's Liberation Army sent in tanks and troops to quash weekslong peaceful protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Protesters were calling for political change.

On Sunday, organizers set up memorials in Taiwan's capital of Taipei to mark the anniversary, later holding a candlelight vigil to remember the victims.

People place candlelights at the Liberty Square in Taipei, Taiwan to mark the 34th anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown
A candlelight vigil was held in Taiwan's capital, while commemorations were banned in Hong KongImage: SAM YEH/AFP

Hong Kong protesters arrested

Police in Hong Kong police detained more than 20 people, including key pro-democracy figures trying to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary.

A police statement said 23 people between the ages of 20 to 74 were held after being suspected of "breaching the peace." 

A 53-year-old woman was arrested for obstructing police officers.

Among the most prominent activists detained was Chan Po-Ying, the leader of the League of Social Democrats, one of the few remaining opposition parties in Hong Kong

The veteran activist was holding a small LED candle and two flowers before she was seized by police.

Other recognizable figures taken were Alexandra Wong, a well-known activist nicknamed "Grandma Wong" and Leo Tang, a former leader of the now-disbanded Confederation of Trade Unions.

A member of the public is escorted by Hong Kong police on the anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown, on Sunday, June 4 2023
Instead of the usual large crowds, Hong Kong's vigil was attended by just a few die-hard activistsImage: Louise Delmotte/AP Photo/picture alliance

On Saturday, Hong Kong police arrested four people for "seditious" acts and "disorderly conduct". Another four were detained on suspicion of breaching the peace.

Demonstrators for decades held an annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on June 4 to commemorate the bloody crackdown.

However, the vigil was banned following the imposition of a national security law in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory by Beijing in 2020.

Many activists who took part in vigils have been convicted since.

Beijing introduced the national security law after massive pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong a year earlier.

Critics say the city's freedom of assembly which was promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China from Britain in 1997 has been eroded.

mm, rmt/rs (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Hong Kong police detain activists on Tiananmen anniversary

Skip next section Explore more