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Editorial: Dictatorship can't expunge Tiananmen Square crimes

Tiananmen Square

1989: Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations culminated in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.

Tyrants such as Xi Jinping of China strive to control people’s actions and thoughts by trying to control the truth, which is why Hong Kong monuments to the peaceful protest of Tiananmen Square turned into a massacre are being torn down and carted away under cover of darkness.

The joyful spring 1989 explosion of free expression and hope for liberty in the center of Beijing, with the impromptu erection of a Goddess of Democracy statue not too dissimilar to our own Statue of Liberty, ended with the death of hundreds or thousands killed by the People’s Liberation Army attacking the people seeking liberation.

But apparently none of this exists in Red China; nothing happened in Tiananmen Square that May and June. Tank Man never stood down a column of T-54 tanks. The students of China never sought freedom and found death under the boot of their oppressors in the Communist Party.

Now, Hong Kong, a once-free bastion, is coming under that same boot.

First to vanish last week was the Pillar of Shame sculpture at the University of Hong Kong commemorating Tiananmen Square. Dedicated for the eight year anniversary of the massacre on June 4, 1997, Hong Kong was still under British rule, which ended weeks later on July 1, with a solemn promise that Beijing would respect the former colony’s independent economic, legal and judicial systems for 50 years.

Less than halfway through that half century, the freedoms which produced the dynamic city are being stripped away. Formerly free elections are rigged or cancelled if they can’t be sufficiently rigged. The truth-telling Apple Daily newspaper was shuttered by decree, with the final edition published in June.

And now come down the Tiananmen monuments, using as an excuse an old British-era sedition law, as though the ruling thugs actually care about some dusty colonial statute. After the University of Hong Kong, several other universities in the city have removed their own Tiananmen commemorations.

Hopefully, one day, freedom will come to China and Hong Kong and those markers will be restored.

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