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ICC Note

In China, Christians of all denominations held the annual vigil to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, which fell on Pentecost Sunday this year. This gathering of 110,000 people marked the 28th anniversary of the incident. Some of those gathered were not believers but were fighters for justice and democracy in China. Supporters prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide them and to bring peace, justice, and democracy to Hong Kong, China, and the rest of the world.

06/05/2017 China (Asia News) – About a thousand Catholics and Protestants attended a ‘Prayer rally for democracy in China’ on the evening of June 4 before joining the candlelight vigil at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to mourn victims of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989.

This year, June 4 fell on Pentecost Sunday. The vigil, which marked the 28th anniversary of the event, drew about 110,000 people in hot and humid weather as well as amid debates on whether Hong Kong should continue to commemorate the June 4 event that happened in Beijing 28 years ago.

Participants at the prayer gathering included priests, nuns, lay Catholics and Christians of other denominations. Prayer organizers listed the incidents over the past 28 years under the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts.

They mentioned student-led pro-democracy movement in Beijing in 1989, which demanded a clean government and reforms, subsequent crackdowns by military forces that led to the bloodshed and deaths, the purges and imprisonment of dissidents, the Tiananmen Mothers, and support from Hong Kong and its demands for democracy.

The rally was organized by Franciscan Justice and Peace Group and the Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organizations in Support of the Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China.

Christians asked that the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit help them in proclaiming the Gospel despite difficulties on earth.

Even though Chinese supporters of the pro-democracy movement may not be Christians, they are searching for justice, democracy and freedom, the values shown in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching.

Hong Kong’s Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha told the gathering that the meaning of commemoration of the June 4 event raises many questions, as little progress in China’s democracy has been made.

However, holding the commemoration enables Christians to see God’s love and hope, for instance, through the students in Tiananmen Square, the Beijing residents who protected the students, the acts of dissidents like Liu Xiaobo, Hu Jia and Liu Xia, and human rights lawyers, the marches of millions of Hong Kong protesters, and “those who choose to remember and refuse to forget the June 4 event,” the bishop said.

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